Fire takes over downtown Vincennes

Dec 18, 2011 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: WTHI-TV Terre Haute

For years, fire officials have worried about what would happen if a major blaze hit in the Main Street area of the city.

Comments
1 - 15 of 15 Comments Last updated Jan 29, 2013

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#1 Dec 18, 2011
How horrible . Any one see this fire. What all did it take out?
freds mom

Nashville, IN

#2 Dec 18, 2011
yarby wrote:
How horrible . Any one see this fire. What all did it take out?
fred did it
fred

Nashville, IN

#3 Dec 18, 2011
yarby wrote:
How horrible . Any one see this fire. What all did it take out?
read the paper stupid

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#4 Dec 18, 2011
Fred I'm not in vincennes. I didn't ask for rudeness I was asking for info thats not in the short report the paper gave. There must be some decent people left in Ind that could comment
One_ lucky _dude

Vincennes, IN

#5 Dec 18, 2011
All gone, total loss! they had to tear down gimble, tower bridge technologies, and artistic window. They say it's indeterminable as to what caused it.

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#6 Dec 18, 2011
Thank you , Its so sad .
Fecal

Kansasville, WI

#7 Dec 19, 2011
I think it looks better gone!
mikdunk

Bridgeport, IL

#8 Dec 20, 2011
VINCENNES, Ind. VINCENNES, Ind. "America's First Main Street," and for a city founded well before the American Revolution it seems like a pretty safe claim.
But the city's historic Main Street is now without what for much of its history has been the anchor to the heart of its commercial district.
On Saturday, the three-story Gimbel Bond Building and several connected structures on the corner of Main and 2nd streets burned to the ground in a five-alarm blaze. Built in 1857, the building once housed the nation's very first Gimbels Department Store, which would grow to become what was once the largest department store chain in the country before finally closing in 1986.
"It was the big department store in Vincennes, but its best days were behind it," said Richard Day, historian for the Vincennes State Historic Sites.
The building had not housed a department store since 1981, he said. Still, its impressive Italianate architecture made it a key stop on tours highlighting the city's architecture.
"The Main Street area buildings were for the most part intact, their architecture intact," Day said.
Monday, a contractor received the go-ahead from Mayor Al Baldwin to demolish the sole remaining portion of the unstable building.
"That's a big cornerstone for our city. It's tragic. There was a lot of history there. "It's one of the oldest buildings on Main Street. Obviously, this is a great tragedy for Vincennes. This (Gimbel's) was a merchandising empire," Chattin said.
Assistant Fire Chief David Halter said the changes made to the conglomerate of four interconnected buildings through the years were also its downfall.
Doors between them, cut in the firewalls, allowed the flames to spread, he said.
"That's why it spread so rapidly," he said.
Within the first five minutes, the back of the building began a partial collapse and firefighters were ordered to withdraw and focus on containing it. As a result, the neighboring Towerbridge building remained largely unharmed apart from some scorched brickwork. Firefighters fought the blaze for several hours. Halter said the cause was still undetermined.
The Gimbel Bond Building had housed an antique and lingerie store, while a connected structure housed the Artistic Windows Co.
Immediately across the street, Brenda Kerns said her women's clothing shop Vanessa's appeared untouched.
The Gimbel legacy began with Adam Gimbel, a German-Jewish immigrant who traveled by steamboat up the Mississippi River in 1842. He became a "pack merchant" or traveling peddler, and eventually opened a general store in Vincennes with one of his brothers, said Day, who wrote a pamphlet about the Gimbel history.
Ironically, the building that burned Saturday was built in 1857 on a site where another building had burned, an area known as the "Burnt District," he said.
Over the years, the business grew as various brothers and sons became involved. The building was renovated to its Italianate appearance in 1878.
The company branched out to Danville, Ill., Milwaukee, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago and other cities, Day said.
DCL

Berkeley, CA

#9 Apr 6, 2012
I think it looks better gone! You would!Your from Chicago......
charles

Berkeley, CA

#10 May 13, 2012
Wow Read the paper??? Thats that how you get your facts..... and you call her stupid....
charles

Berkeley, CA

#11 May 13, 2012
One_ lucky _dude wrote:
All gone, total loss! they had to tear down gimble, tower bridge technologies, and artistic window. They say it's indeterminable as to what caused it.
Right the city did not want an investigation...

Since: May 12

Columbus, IN

#12 May 14, 2012
charles wrote:
Wow Read the paper??? Thats that how you get your facts..... and you call her stupid....
who?
Guest

United States

#13 Aug 16, 2012
Towerbridge is still there.
Britgurl

Beulaville, NC

#14 Jan 28, 2013
Someone did that. Lommel heard someone bang a door moments before the fire started. He discovered the fire when looking for the intruder. The city DID decide to ignore the facts on this case, and poor lommel lost EVERYTHING because of it. His business, his home, everything. F*ck Vincennes. Lommel left and I did too!
Tina crane

Vincennes, IN

#15 Jan 29, 2013
Let it go Travis , the city did not burn down mr. Lommels building, that he was heating with space heaters and cost $128,000 to clean up

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