UPDATE: Woodbine Apple Fest Will Go On, Despite Fire

By: Joe Chiodo, Chase Moffitt Email
By: Joe Chiodo, Chase Moffitt Email
More Video...

Woodbine Main Street Relief Fund

Donations accepted at Farmers Trust & Savings Bank, Bank of the West.

T-shirts will be sold during Apple Fest for $20. Half the proceeds will be donated.

The smoke had barely cleared when the comeback began in Woodbine, Iowa. On Thursday, fire seared the town's business district. On Friday, cold ash under foot, the community lit the fires of reclamation.

Volunteers flocked to town from points all across the rural community. They sifted through singed rubble - a salvage mission to help reassemble the pieces.

Four of nine buildings were damaged. Two were lost.

The volunteers put this weekend's Apple Fest on the fast track to salvation. It's going ahead as planned.

Festival Chair Patty Reisz said, "We made the decision last night, as soon as we knew the fire was going to be under control, the event needed to go on."

And it will go on with special meaning this year.

"At first we thought it would be because of the 25th year," Reisz said. "But now it will be because of the devastation that happened last night. So I think people are going to see what Woodbine is all about at Apple Fest tomorrow."

It took four hours to contain the blaze.

"Terrible," one witness called it. "I wanted to cry. I was devastated. You think about all the things they did to this community - I wanted to cry. They just remodeled this street; they just put up all this stuff."

Flames had etched their way through a flower shop on Main Street until fire crews go the call around 4 p.m. It burned into the night.

We won't know what caused it until investigators can piece together the clues but there was talk on the street that it might have been linked to an electrical issue.

Woodbine Fire

Fire investigators tell WOWT 6 News that the flames broke out in the back corner of the Woodbine Flower Shop. It took the combined effort of 14 fire departments to put it out. Crews remained on the scene, standing watch in the event of structural collapse.

Everyone made it safely out of the burning building but one firefighter was taken to the hospital. His injuries were not immediately know.

The sidewalks of downtown Woodbine filled with crowds - people who came to watch and offer help.

One man called it, "Heartbreaking. This is all a part of Woodbine and its burning." he said.

Some feared the flames would burn the entire block. They did communicate to adjacent buildings housing a senior center, a bar and an antique store but the damage to those initially appeared to be limited to smoke and water. The extent of that damage was not clear.

"I live just a block away," one neighbor told us. "I was actually supposed to work at the bar tonight."

"I live right here on the end," another Woodbine resident said. "So I got the call and just came up to get my stuff out as fast as I could."

Sadly, this was not an unfamiliar sight for Woodbine and it brough back memories of an earlier fire across the street.

"Just brough back memories to 1997 when I stood, as a girl, and watched this side burn," one woman said. "And watching that burn , just brings back memories. And I didn't think I'd relive it. And I didn't want to."

"This is our heritage," a neighbor told us. "These old buildings have been here for over 100 years and it's a piece of our town. But I also know we are a tight community and we'll pick up and it will be, it'll be a good thing."

Woodbine Fire

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WOWT NBC Omaha 3501 Farnam Street Omaha, NE 68131 (402) 346-6666 sixonline@wowt.com
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 225405562 - wowt.com/a?a=225405562
Gray Television, Inc.