Photo: 1974 fire

Photo: 1974 fire

A fire was reported to emergency dispatch 45 years ago today. The fire was set by an arsonist around 4 a.m. It took more than 12 hours to extinguish and ultimately destroyed six historic buildings along the west 800 block of Main Avenue. Two 24-year-olds, a police officer, Gale Emerson, and a firefighter, Nick Parks Jr., were killed when a wall in the rear of the structure collapsed on them. The arsonist was eventually identified, convicted and sentenced. He spent 18 years in prison. This part of the block was completely re-constructed, and in June of 1976, the location now known as the Main Mall was dedicated. Read more local history at durangoherald.com/westishistory.

Ed Horvat for The Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org

Photo: 1974 fire

A fire was reported to emergency dispatch 45 years ago today. The fire was set by an arsonist around 4 a.m. It took more than 12 hours to extinguish and ultimately destroyed six historic buildings along the west 800 block of Main Avenue. Two 24-year-olds, a police officer, Gale Emerson, and a firefighter, Nick Parks Jr., were killed when a wall in the rear of the structure collapsed on them. The arsonist was eventually identified, convicted and sentenced. He spent 18 years in prison. This part of the block was completely re-constructed, and in June of 1976, the location now known as the Main Mall was dedicated. Read more local history at durangoherald.com/westishistory.

Ed Horvat for The Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org
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