Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Fire guts Pulaski train station

The Town of Pulaski lost a piece of its history early Monday morning when the historic Pulaski Train Station succumbed to a fire.
Pulaski Fire Chief Bill Webb said the station is a “total loss.”
The Pulaski Fire Department received word of the fire at 12:10 a.m. Monday morning and arrived at the station, located at the corner of South Washington Avenue and Dora Highway in Pulaski, one minute later, according to Webb.
Webb said when firefighters arrived on the scene, there were clear signs of heavy fire and smoke within the station, so they quickly began fire suppression operations.
He noted that in addition to 24 members of the Pulaski Fire Department, numerous other local first responders aided in the operation, including the Draper, Newbern and Dublin fire departments, along with the Fairlawn Fire Department and the county air truck (a truck with equipment to refill firefighters’ air tanks, if necessary), REMSI and the Pulaski Police Department.
While the majority of the fire was suppressed within several hours, Webb said that his department was still working at the train station late Monday morning and that they were back in service by 11:30 a.m.
In addition to using four pieces of equipment, Webb estimated that they had used roughly 150,000 to 180,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.
After the fire, Webb said focus had shifted in the direction of trying to salvage any historic artifacts located within the station, and he noted that they had managed to save a few, which are being placed in storage in several locations within the town.
The Pulaski Train Station, which first opened in 1888, was home to the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum and was listed on the National Historic Register.
While Webb did not have an estimate of the exact monetary value of damage caused by the fire, he did comment that no value could be placed on the artifacts, as they are “irreplaceable.”
In addition to salvaging artifacts, the department has embarked upon an investigation of the origin of the fire.
As of Tuesday morning, Webb said the department has no definite answer for what caused the fire, and the investigation will continue, most likely for several more days.
Pulaski Town Manager John Hawley commented that the town’s main concern at this point is preserving as much from the museum as possible.
He added that town staff would be meeting with an architect from the Virginia Department of Historic Preservation Tuesday morning for advice on preserving what is left of the building and artifacts.
“The fire comes as a heartbreaking loss to all citizens,” commented Town of Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell.
He also said that there are many questions yet to be answered, including the possibility of rebuilding the station. He added that the Town Council and administration will be addressing all issues in the coming days.
Hawley noted that time would be taken during Tuesday night’s Pulaski Town Council meeting to discuss the situation.
John White, economic development director for the Town of Pulaski, said he was depressed when he heard the news of the fire upon his arrival at work Monday morning.
However, he seems to be keeping a positive attitude about the situation.
“Pulaski is a very resilient place,” White said. “It’s a strong community, and I think we’ll bounce back in spite of this unspeakable loss of a part of our history.”
He said that, already, people have been quick to help out in the current process of salvaging artifacts, and that he believes the community will continue to rally around the museum.
“The most important thing now is to move forward,” he said.
Betty Lou Kirkner, who White described as the “tour de force” behind the museum, said she was “devastated” at the loss of the station and museum, which was named after her father, Raymond F. Ratcliffe, a former mayor of Pulaski.
“It’s been so much a part of our lives, and like a part of my family,” Kirkner said, noting that her grandson had commented that it was like losing a member of their family.
“I think everyone in town feels the loss of it,” Kirkner said.
She said she had just been at the station on Sunday afternoon, but noted that there were no heaters or anything that she could have left on that might have caused the fire.
“We were always so careful about that,” she said.
She noted that the building had undergone a complete renovation in 1994, so she said it would be “strange that the wiring in the building would not have held up that long.”
Kirkner added that she feels bad about the things that were lost in the fire that were loaned to the museum by members of the community, but she was thankful to hear of the things that had been salvaged, including some of the uniforms that had been on display at the museum.
She added that some of the original historic photographs in the museum might have been destroyed in the fire, but, fortunately, many of them were saved on CDs when White was working on his recent book about the history of the Town of Pulaski.
“There was so much lost that we can’t recapture, but we’ll just have to salvage what we can,” she said.
Through her work at the museum, Kirkner has developed a network of connections of local museum and preservation workers, and she said that many of them were already jumping in to help out and that she would be meeting with some of them today.
“We’ve hit bottom, but we just have to see what we’ve got left, pick ourselves up and move forward,” Kirkner said.

Comments

comments

Fire guts Pulaski train station

The Town of Pulaski lost a piece of its history early Monday morning when the historic Pulaski Train Station succumbed to a fire.
Pulaski Fire Chief Bill Webb said the station is a “total loss.”
The Pulaski Fire Department received word of the fire at 12:10 a.m. Monday morning and arrived at the station, located at the corner of South Washington Avenue and Dora Highway in Pulaski, one minute later, according to Webb.
Webb said when firefighters arrived on the scene, there were clear signs of heavy fire and smoke within the station, so they quickly began fire suppression operations.
He noted that in addition to 24 members of the Pulaski Fire Department, numerous other local first responders aided in the operation, including the Draper, Newbern and Dublin fire departments, along with the Fairlawn Fire Department and the county air truck (a truck with equipment to refill firefighters’ air tanks, if necessary), REMSI and the Pulaski Police Department.
While the majority of the fire was suppressed within several hours, Webb said that his department was still working at the train station late Monday morning and that they were back in service by 11:30 a.m.
In addition to using four pieces of equipment, Webb estimated that they had used roughly 150,000 to 180,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.
After the fire, Webb said focus had shifted in the direction of trying to salvage any historic artifacts located within the station, and he noted that they had managed to save a few, which are being placed in storage in several locations within the town.
The Pulaski Train Station, which first opened in 1888, was home to the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Museum and was listed on the National Historic Register.
While Webb did not have an estimate of the exact monetary value of damage caused by the fire, he did comment that no value could be placed on the artifacts, as they are “irreplaceable.”
In addition to salvaging artifacts, the department has embarked upon an investigation of the origin of the fire.
As of Tuesday morning, Webb said the department has no definite answer for what caused the fire, and the investigation will continue, most likely for several more days.
Pulaski Town Manager John Hawley commented that the town’s main concern at this point is preserving as much from the museum as possible.
He added that town staff would be meeting with an architect from the Virginia Department of Historic Preservation Tuesday morning for advice on preserving what is left of the building and artifacts.
“The fire comes as a heartbreaking loss to all citizens,” commented Town of Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell.
He also said that there are many questions yet to be answered, including the possibility of rebuilding the station. He added that the Town Council and administration will be addressing all issues in the coming days.
Hawley noted that time would be taken during Tuesday night’s Pulaski Town Council meeting to discuss the situation.
John White, economic development director for the Town of Pulaski, said he was depressed when he heard the news of the fire upon his arrival at work Monday morning.
However, he seems to be keeping a positive attitude about the situation.
“Pulaski is a very resilient place,” White said. “It’s a strong community, and I think we’ll bounce back in spite of this unspeakable loss of a part of our history.”
He said that, already, people have been quick to help out in the current process of salvaging artifacts, and that he believes the community will continue to rally around the museum.
“The most important thing now is to move forward,” he said.
Betty Lou Kirkner, who White described as the “tour de force” behind the museum, said she was “devastated” at the loss of the station and museum, which was named after her father, Raymond F. Ratcliffe, a former mayor of Pulaski.
“It’s been so much a part of our lives, and like a part of my family,” Kirkner said, noting that her grandson had commented that it was like losing a member of their family.
“I think everyone in town feels the loss of it,” Kirkner said.
She said she had just been at the station on Sunday afternoon, but noted that there were no heaters or anything that she could have left on that might have caused the fire.
“We were always so careful about that,” she said.
She noted that the building had undergone a complete renovation in 1994, so she said it would be “strange that the wiring in the building would not have held up that long.”
Kirkner added that she feels bad about the things that were lost in the fire that were loaned to the museum by members of the community, but she was thankful to hear of the things that had been salvaged, including some of the uniforms that had been on display at the museum.
She added that some of the original historic photographs in the museum might have been destroyed in the fire, but, fortunately, many of them were saved on CDs when White was working on his recent book about the history of the Town of Pulaski.
“There was so much lost that we can’t recapture, but we’ll just have to salvage what we can,” she said.
Through her work at the museum, Kirkner has developed a network of connections of local museum and preservation workers, and she said that many of them were already jumping in to help out and that she would be meeting with some of them today.
“We’ve hit bottom, but we just have to see what we’ve got left, pick ourselves up and move forward,” Kirkner said.

Comments

comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login