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home : opinions : editorials February 05, 2016

5/8/2013 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Positives emerge after the blaze
The Daily Courier

Just a year ago, the newsroom scanner sounded at dusk with a high pitch signaling firefighters to a fire that was showing on Whiskey Row. First thoughts were that firefighters would knock it down quickly, that it probably didn't amount to much.

But, it did.

Famed Whiskey Row buildings in the heart of downtown Prescott were on fire. A crowd of people from nearby businesses and neighborhoods who could see flames shooting high into the sky came from every direction and packed the plaza. They stood in horror, and when they pushed to the edge of the courthouse grass for a closer vantage point, police moved them back to safety. Sparks were flying. Water from fire hoses flooded Montezuma Street, as fire crews fought the inferno.

The next day, people drove and walked by to see the devastation in daylight. What a sad day that was - yet a thankful one at the same time. Lost to the fire were the historic Bird Cage Saloon, Pearl's Place and the Prescott Food Store.

But, we all knew that if it were not for the skill of our local fire departments working together, this fire could have been far, far worse. Visions of the 1900 fire that consumed the Row came back to haunt us.

Today, the venerable but not invincible Whiskey Row is like the Phoenix bird that rose from the ashes, and we have paid heed to the lessons that fire meant to teach us in order to protect buildings we take for granted.

The Bird Cage is moving to the old Quizno's, which is undergoing remodeling and will be fitted with fire sprinklers. Fire alarms have been installed in businesses stretching along Cortez from Gurley Street to Union Street. The Grand Highland Hotel survived the fire, but with heavy smoke damage, and it has been refurbished in grand style. Now it is fire safe with sprinklers, as is Jenny Longhorn Western Boutique, which had to close and restore its space because of what smoke did to its merchandise. And, the Burmeister Building next to Prescott Brewing Company, along with the Union building, which houses Raskin's Jewelers and Lone Spur Café on Gurley Street, now has sprinklers. Beyond this protection, addresses are more clear on both the front and back of Whiskey Row buildings so that firefighters know exactly which door to use, should there be a problem.

Downtown Prescott is even safer now, thanks to, of all things, a fire.

We applaud Howard and Nancy Hinson for their attention to historical integrity in restoring the hotel and what they plan for the adjacent burned-out lot. The businesses deserve praise, too, for installing fire alarms and sprinklers.

And, if we haven't shown enough gratitude to Prescott, Chino and Central Yavapai firefighters, we do it now.

They were the silver lining behind the cloud.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Well . . .

@Steven Ayers. I have bought a lot of insurance in my life and I have never once considered it to be a pooling of resources. It's a service bought and paid for. A bit more like the casino, with the house (the insurance company) taking the bet that they won't have to pay, and me betting that they will.
@ Steven Major. I'm sure glad I wasn't raised in your household. You have a very negative attitude.

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Major

This editorial reads like the second coming. Get over yourself. There was a fire caused by human neglect. Well paid firemen did their job and put the fire out. The fire occurred in a tourist trap / alcoholics paradise that few town residents visit, and most have learned to avoid.
Installing fire alarms and sprinklers, and labeling building entrances are not things that deserve "praise", they are things that should have been done decades ago.

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

In point of fact, Mr Steele, the stimulus came in the form of settlements from insurance, in which people and businesses pool their money to protect against risk. Sort of a socialist thing.

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: Zig E.

@ Tom - Strange comment. Sounds like your trying to take some credit for something you had nothing to do with, while putting your political spin on it. There was nothing political in the editorial, yet we can count on you to figure someway somehow to stand up and wave your 'I hate the government' flag. On top of that, you said "we" didn't require a stimulus - I wasn't aware that you had anything to do with the restoration work being done downtown, plus, how would you know the private financial dealings of those owners. And I do believe that there are certain federal grants and tax breaks available for restoring historic buildings, doing energy saving upgrades etc.. Soooo maybe some of that evil stimulus money was used - Oh no .... the horror.

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

And we didn't require a stimulus from the Federal government. Way to go Prescott.

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