A Huron Treasure Survives Fire

July 7, 2008 8:49:32 PM PDT
Huron arson investigators are making progress in a case of a historic hotel destroyed by fire. Flames destroyed the Central Hotel on Saturday July 5. But A treasure to the community was left untouched.Local say Huron feels different with the Central Hotel gone. It was one of the city's first buildings constructed in the late 19th century. Owner Andrew Padilla hoped to restore the all wood building that was abandoned for several years. Then early Saturday morning emergency crews took pictures of fire destroying a piece of Huron's history. Padilla said, "It was like we lost a child. It was here. It was our name. Huron is known for drugs and bad things ... It was the last residue we had of something that was very good."

Huron Police Sergeant Robert Herndon said, "There is evidence to suggest that this is the work of an arsonist." Herndon is in the early stages of what he called a very tough case because of the building's age. Herndon said, "The condition of the wood being very dry accelerated the fire. It literally left nothing. It burned it away and most of the building collapsed into the basement."

Two historic structures survived the fire- the old slaughter house where the hotel staff prepared food and next door was the old laundry room. Both structures were built in the 1920s but are now facing demolition to prevent future fires.

A hidden treasure remained untouched. The city's first water tower is buried behind a sheet metal fence. Red letters can be seen spelling the city's name. Padilla said, "This is what made Huron grow with the hotel. So though they burned that hotel they left that little piece right there."

The owner has no insurance, but Padilla hopes donors and the city will memorialize what once stood for decades.


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