Flames destroy historic Palouse building as new business opens




Posted on April 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 9 at 4:48 PM

PALOUSE, Wash. -- Flames Tuesday morning destroyed a bar in Downtown Palouse that was set for its grand opening Tuesday night.

Fire broke out about 4 a.m. in the building that housed the Brick Wall Bar & Grill on E. Main St., formerly known as the Palouse Tavern. Fire officials said heavy smoke could be seen coming from the building.  Officials said the first crews sent inside the building were forced to back out due to high heat and low visibility.

READ: Fire destroys Palouse bar on day of grand opening

KREM 2 News was told the owners of the restaurant had put in months of hard work preparing for its grand opening.

"It's just a shame. It's a real tragedy....They had put a lot of work into it. All the masonry was repaired.. The roof was repaired,” said a business owner next-door to the bar, Michael Walters.

While the restaurant was new, the building itself was more than 100-years-old.

"It's really sad, because the building originally was the bar and had a lot of memories for a lot of the community that grew up here and everything,” said one Palouse resident.

“[There was] a lot of excitement about having this place in town so it’s gonna be a tough blow for the community,” said Palouse Fire Chief Mike Bagott.

Bagott added it was too early to know what caused the fire.

There were no reports of injuries.

Palouse Mayor Michael Echanove said it is an emotional subject

The Palouse was recovering from another recent tragedy that affected the town. In November, a City councilwoman died while kayaking in a nearby river.