Fire destroys downtown business
A leaky gas line is blamed for causing the fire that tore through the Crystal DolphinGeneral Editor
Feb. 6, 2002 -- A Madras business went up in flames Saturday morning, causing an estimated loss of $180,000, as well as heavy smoke damage to adjacent businesses.
Fire Chief Earl Cordes said apparently a small leak a natural gas line was ignited when a heater in the Crystal Dolphin kicked on around 9:52 a.m., Feb. 2. The store is located at 47 SE Fifth Street in downtown Madras, and had just opened in November. The store is owned by Sandra and Joe King of Madras, and the building is owned by Carl Graffenberger of Redmond.
Four fire engines and 21 personnel fought the flames, but the building, valued at $130,000, was declared a complete loss. The contents of the shop, valued at $50,000, were also destroyed, but both the building and contents were insured, Cordes said.
Fifth Street, which also carries northbound Highway 97 traffic, had to be diverted around the downtown area for 1 1/2 hours as fire crews battled the blaze.
Efforts focused on confining the flames to the Crystal Dolphin building, and firefighters were successful in keeping them from spreading. Both the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop and Broken Bow Trading Post suffered heavy smoke damage, however.
Thrift Shop Manager June Miller has already announced a fire sale on clothing. "The clothing has a smokey smell and carpet is full of smoke, but customers kept wanting to come in, so we're holding a $2 a bag clothing sale. Most things you can wash and get the smell out," she said. Thrift Shop clerks had to wear face masks and offered them to customers.
But Broken Bow owner Jim Corey said they weren't as fortunate. In his shop of Native American crafts, items like feathers and fur pelts aren't as easy to clean.
"The firemen broke through the wall from where an old doorway had been and there is mostly smoke damage," Corey said, noting an insurance representative was coming Tuesday to assess the damage.