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Slideshow: Fire Damages Buildings On Greencastle Square

Some of the buildings that were damaged were scheduled to be renovated as part of a downtown economic development project.

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    Photo: David Brownfield

    A fire fighter works to control a fire on Friday morning.

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    Photo: Sehvilla Mann/WFIU News

    Buildings on the Greencastle square were damaged Friday in a fire.

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    Photo: David Brownfield

    Smoke from a fire on the courthouse square clouds the air in Greencastle.

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    Photo: David Brownfield

    A fire ladder disappears into the smoke in Greencastle.

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    Photo: David Brownfield

    Fire fighters work to contain a fire on the Greencastle square.

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    Photo: Sehvilla Mann/WFIU News

    Bystanders watch as firefighters work to stabilize buildings on the Greencastle courthouse square after a fire broke out there Friday.

A fire that broke out on the Greencastle courthouse square Friday morning has damaged seven buildings, including two that were supposed to receive state grant money for upgrades.

Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent says the fire department received a call notifying them of the fire around 7 a.m. Firefighters from Putnam County, Hendricks County, Danville, Plainfield, and Crawfordsville arrived on the scene shortly after and were able to put out the flames by 11 a.m.

Newgent says the fire appears to have started on a deck behind one of the buildings on Washington Street. Nobody was injured, but three buildings including Wilson’s Photography Studio, a pawn shop and a dental office were severely damaged. The worst damage is on the second floor of the buildings.

Firefighters are now working to stabilize the buildings. A cause has not been identified.

“They’re going in and making sure all of our hotspots are put out,” he says. “They’re looking at stabilization of the structure, and we do have a remediation team here on the scene, that’s going to help us with stabilizing the structure of this downtown.”

Mayor Sue Murray says the fires are a major setback for the community.

Greencastle is one of several communities receiving state funds through the Stellar Grant, money aimed at improving small towns and boosting the local economy. Murray says two damaged buildings were set to be renovated.

“We’re obviously going to have to wait until they’re not only stabilized, but they’ve been able to rebuild and then we’ll talk about their façade,” she says. “So it’s very much a part of what we’re doing on Stellar. The downtown parking area is just beyond us, but the facades themselves are critical to the revitalization of the downtown, and a big part of that stellar grant.”

Several businesses and offices, including the Putnam County courthouse, closed Friday because of the fire. Fire department officials say they are working to get the square cleared and back to normal as quickly as possible.

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