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2 years later: Richardton recovers skyline after fire

Firefighters work to put out a blaze Dec. 22, 2010, in Richardton.

Two years ago today a fire ravaged two unoccupied downtown Richardton buildings that left a mess on the city's skyline for nearly as long.

The mess left behind when the former Elkhorn Bar and Hardware Hank on North Avenue went up in flames was cleaned up in September, Richardton Mayor Frank Kirschenheiter said Thursday evening.

"I think everybody was pleased to see them go," he said.

The city purchased the lots and tore down the buildings, and the lots are now for sale, Kirschenheiter said.

City Councilman Robert Ludlum was unsure Friday afternoon how much the lots or the demolition cost.

"I'm just glad it's out of there and so are a lot of other people," he said.

In January, Kirschenheiter told The Press that demolition could cost up to $100,000.

Now that the ruins are torn down, not much has changed, nearby Cheers and Beers manager Skip Williams said.

"It looks much nicer," he said.

The city isn't actively pursuing that the lots be filled, Kirschenheiter said.

"I wish the strip mall would have been put there," Williams said. "There's a strip mall going in a mile out of town. It would have been nice if the strip mall would have went in town."

The city is hoping that something moves in to fill the void, Ludlum said.

The cause of the Dec. 22, 2010, fire is unknown and the case was closed by the state fire marshal Jan. 5, 2011.

There were no injuries, but crews were fighting the blaze that began shortly before noon for about 11 hours.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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