A popular piece of the historic downtown area of Guthrie was destroyed in minutes after flames took out two buildings.
The Guthrie Fire Department responded to the 100 block of E. Oklahoma Ave. for a fire in the back of Furrow Flowers & Gifts just after 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
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As firefighters arrived on scene, they were met by heavy fire that had extended next door to the Double Stop Fiddle Shop.
With flames and dark smoke surrounding the downtown area, fire crews were initially told two people may have been inside. Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow said they went into “life-saving mode.”
“We were focused on people first,” Harlow said.
Guthrie police officers informed firefighters they were able to get everyone out of the building.
Due to the smoldering temperatures, windows in the fiddle shop blew out allowing the fire to grow even larger.
Wind gusts reaching up to 45 mph out of the southwest added fuel to the fire.
“With 100-plus year-old buildings, heavy dried out wood from years ago and the fire load that these buildings now have with the storage, we were honestly up against a losing battle,” Harlow said.
The building next to Furrow Flowers, Sharon Triplett CPA, sustained some smoke and water damage.
Fire departments from Coyle, Crescent, Sooner, Woodcrest and Edmond assisted Guthrie with manpower and fire engines.
“Honestly, if it was not for the two ladder trucks (Guthrie and Edmond), we would have lost a much larger chunk of the block,” Harlow added.
“Thanks to firefighters who showed the #OklahomaStandard & drove in to help Guthrie fight this devastating fire,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said in a social media post.
He continued, “The community lost the historic Double Stop Fiddle Shop &Furrow Flowers. Our thoughts & prayers are w/Guthrie. Tweet out ways to help; we’ll retweet to spread the word.”
Byron Berline, known world-wide for his music talents and owner of the buildings, was out of town on vacation.
“Byron’s shop has been here forever, and he’s known throughout the world as the fiddle expert and there’s so much history,” Harlow said. “Unfortunately, its going to be a lost.”
Buildings to be evaluated
City Manager Leroy Alsup and City Engineer Bill Myers spoke with a structural engineer, who is expected to be in Guthrie on Sunday or Monday to determine the future of the buildings.
Oklahoma Ave. to be blocked off
Until engineers can determine the condition of the exterior of the buildings, the 100 block of Oklahoma Ave. will be shut down between Division St. and Wentz St.
Wentz. St is also expected to be closed from Harrison Ave. to Cleveland Ave.