GREENFIELD, Ind. – A fire damages a historic building in Greenfield. Investigators are working to figure out what started the fire at the Riley Park shelter house.
The windows are now boarded up as caution tape surrounds the shelter house.
“It means something to the entire community,” said Chuck Fewell, mayor of Greenfield.
Around 9:15, Wednesday morning, when fire crews responded, smoke and flames were pouring out of the historic building. The Riley Park shelter house has been there since the 1930s.
“Looks like maybe we can save it but we don’t know yet so it’ll take a little while,” said Steve Kropacek, Fire Marshal with Greenfield Fire Territory.
Around the same time when the fire broke out there was supposed to be an aerobic class happening. Approximately 15-20 senior citizens normally attend the class. The class was canceled beforehand, meaning thankfully, no one was inside the building.
“The good Lord was looking down wasn’t he,” said Mayor Fewell.
The Riley Park shelter house is used daily for programs and classes. There are day camps during the summer. Year-round families hold gatherings at the shelter house. Countless community memories have been made between the walls, even for Greenfield’s Mayor Chuck Fewell.
“My grandson’s birthday was held here, his first one. You can rent it. my wife’s family has had a reunion here, oh my goodness, I can’t remember how long we’ve used it on a Sunday to have a family reunion,” said Mayor Fewell.
Investigators believe the fire started near the attic but are unsure exactly how it started. At this point, officials don’t believe it’s suspicious.
“They had just remodeled this entire building with new floors, new ceilings and everything in it has been new,” said Mayor Fewell.
A sadness is felt throughout the entire community but also a sense of relief.
“I hate to lose this building and as bad as I hate to say this, I can replace that building but one life I could not replace and there isn’t any way to put a value on anything of that nature,” says Mayor Fewell.
Park directors are working to relocate programs to other buildings onsite and possibly off-site.