Madelia rebuilds after fire that devastated 9 businesses

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MADELIA— The downtown of a small Minnesota community is slowly taking shape nearly a year after a fire devastated nine businesses.

The gaping hole left from a Feb. 3 fire in Madelia’s downtown is filled again with the shells of new buildings, the Mankato Free Press reported. Crews are working on interiors, and the businesses hope to return by spring.

“They’re beautiful buildings. We can’t wait for people to open the doors and get back to normal, if we can ever really get back to normal,” City Administrator Jane Piepgras said.

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Businesses destroyed in the incident included a restaurant, a floral and gift shop, a dental office and a hair salon, among others.

Almost all of the nine businesses were reopened in different locations by April with help from foundations and other donors. The city and the county provided tax reductions to help ease high property taxes for the owners of the damaged businesses. The community hopes the state will also provide funding to help.

The new structures have space for five businesses, four of which will be filled with returning businesses.

The cause of the fire was never determined. When firefighters arrived at the scene, two explosions went off inside the buildings, fueling the fire. Firefighters fought the blaze by showering it with water for more than nine hours.