By: Melina Matthes
PLATTSMOUTH (KPTM)- An overnight blaze destroyed what many call "the heart of Plattsmouth."
A downtown building that's been the center of town for decades is no longer the prominent structure that it once was.
Dozens of Plattsmouth residents tell Fox 42 News, they can't believe it's gone.
The fire chief said the blaze started behind the bar approximately where the stairs are located. When fire crews went to the second floor to battle the flames, they said the building collapsed on itself. "We had about 4 or 5 firefighters up there at the time. I was on my way up there to pull them back and just right when I grabbed a hold of them, it came down on us," Plattsmouth Fire Chief, Mike Wilson said.
Not only was that an added element to the already harsh conditions they were facing, but the water that the crews were pumping onto the building quickly turned to ice. "As soon as the water hit the concrete, it instantly turned into ice. It's hard to stand on. They don't make ice skates for fire boots," Chief Wilson said.
Thousands of gallons of water quickly made this downtown historic street appear frozen in time. "It's a sad thing to see and I can only feel for the people that have been our natives here in Plattsmouth to see a piece of history be lost," Nancy Peters said.
Part of that history destroyed in the flames, the Quart House Pub, the Plattsmouth Chiropractor and One World Community Health, all a part of a building that dates back to the 1880's. "If we can save the façade that'd be great because this is a historic district so if we can basically do something with the building…I hope we don't have to tear it down. Hopefully there will be enough structural integrity that we can do something with it," Dan Rohan said.
An outcome Fire Chief Mike Wilson believes may not be possible after nearly being crushed by the floors above. "We barely escaped it that's right. I mean it could've been a very tragic situation there."
A harsh reality and sight to see for the town and people of Plattsmouth. "It's gonna put a hurt on the historic main street in Plattsmouth. Over the years we've put a lot of money in as far as beautifying as far as the downtown here, ya this is a little tough here," Chief Wilson said.
Chief Wilson said crews will be at the building for several hours Friday night battling hot spots just in case of a possible flare up.
He also said Main Street will probably be closed the next several days.
The future of the historic building is still uncertain at this time.
The cause of the fire is still unknown at this time. Investigators with the state fire marshal's office are looking into it.
No one was injured in the fire.
Three people who lived in apartments on the top floor have been relocated with help from the American Red Cross.