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Fire Destroys Emmitt House

Fire Destroys Emmitt House

As many as 60 firefighters battled a fire at the Emmitt House in downtown Waverly.

"It's just depressing. It's just awful," said Renee Shaw, who brought her children to see the fire. "It's just a big loss for Pike County because it's such a landmark."

The fire broke out around 8pm. Waverly Fire Chief Randy Armbruster says when they arrived they had flames shooting through the roof at the rear of the 100 year old building.

It wasn't just the flames they had to deal with, but the frigid temperatures as well.

"Hoses freezing up. Trucks freezing up. Streets are freezing up. Coldest day of the year," he said.

One sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries when part of the building collapsed. They were hit by glass, but treated at the scene.

Heavy equipment was brought in to tear down some of the walls as a safety precaution and to allow firefighters to get to the fire.

"At this point the building is a total loss. There's been two collapses," Armbruster said.

Former Waverly Mayor Bill Kelly says the loss of the Emmitt House will be felt in the community. He's hoping that the owners re-build.

"I would hope that some day you'll see some type of an Emmitt House go back in there," he said, but Kelly admits the economy isn't the best in the area and it will be tough to do. Pike County leads the state in unemployment.

"The people in Waverly have a resolve and if there's any place that can make it happen it would be our folks," Kelly said.

The State Fire Marshal's office will send investigators to the scene to try and determine what caused the fire. Armbruster expected U.S. 23 through Waverly to remain closed until at least Tuesday afternoon.

 

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