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Donations, Rubble Pile Up in Paoli

Donations to help the 14 people displaced by a fire which destroyed part of the Paoli town square Saturday are rolling in.

Paoli Fire Rubble

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski

A mangled filing cabinet sits amid the rubble of the former Old National Bank building on the courthouse square in Paoli. The building burned down Saturday.

Donations to help the 14 people displaced by a fire which destroyed part of the Paoli town square Saturday are rolling in.

Bulldozers have begun to clear the streets in Paoli, and cleanup crews are shoveling debris out of the road and into large piles of brick and twisted metal.  All that remains, in the very center of the rubble of what was a 106-year old building, is a heavy metal vault used by Old National Bank, which had moved out about two months ago.  The building also housed the Paoli Chamber of Commerce and apartments for nine families.  Orange County Community Foundation Executive Director Imojean Dedrick said donations to help those families are coming from across the continent.

“We have several churches who have brought checks already this morning,” Dedrick said. “We are getting lots of phone calls, credit card contributions are being accepted as well.  I received a call from Canada – as far away as Ontario, Canada – from a gentleman who had heard about it and wanted to make a contribution.”

Dedrick said the property’s owner has not decided what will become of the west side of the square once cleanup is complete.  Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire, which took crews from 16 departments to extinguish.  Despite the help, a lack of water pressure hampered efforts to put the fire out before the building became unsalvageable.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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