Update: Ellsworth City Hall, destroyed in morning fire, comes down
11 a.m. update
Work is underway to bring down the Ellsworth City Hall that was destroyed by fire this morning.
Watch for the full story in tomorrow's print edition of The Globe, as well as online at dglobe.com.
10 a.m. update
ELLSWORTH — An historic building that housed the Ellsworth City Hall for more than a century is ablaze in Ellsworth this morning.
Firefighters from nine departments continue to battle the fire, which has thus far produced billows of thick smoke from its windows and doors.
Rich Gaul, an Ellsworth fireman and member of the Ellsworth City Council, says the fire is believed to be electrical in nature. The Ellsworth Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 6:17 a.m. today. As of 10 a.m., the State Fire Marshal had not been able to get inside the building, according to Ellsworth Mayor Tasha Domeyer.
Located next to the city’s water tower, the concern now is to protect the tower from damage.
Already, equipment was used to tear down the garage addition on the east side of the building — action taken after an emergency meeting of the Ellsworth City Council this morning. Meanwhile, firefighters continue to aim water inside the building from Broadway Street. Providing mutual aid are firefighters from Adrian, Rushmore, Luverne, Magnolia and Lismore, as well as the George, Little Rock and Rock Rapids fire departments in Iowa.
The Ellsworth City Hall is located at the intersection of Broadway Street (Minnesota 91) and Fourth Avenue, and is just a block north of the Ellsworth Public School. The school is closed for today, due to concerns of having enough water available. Also, Minnesota 91 is closed to traffic through the city of Ellsworth.
The Ellsworth Fire Department, which typically gets its water from a spigot on the south side of the 114-year-old building, has had to rely on neighboring fire departments — particularly Adrian — to supply water to help battle the fire.
The city of Ellsworth, located in far southwest Nobles County, was founded in 1884. It’s original city hall building was destroyed by fire, and this, the second building, was constructed in 1904, according to Ellsworth City Clerk Dawn Huisman.
Ellsworth firefighters were able to get inside the building this morning to save important documents, files and the computer system from the clerk’s office before the fire spread.
According to city residents, the building housed some historical treasures, including a painted canvas that dates back to the 1930s, according to Kathy Chapa, who with her husband, Brian, owns the Ellsworth Locker across the street.
The canvas, or curtain, was stored in the upstairs of the building, which was once a gym with a basketball court and theater stage. Years ago, students from the school used the space.
“There’s a lot of history up there” said Chapa, noting that many of the community’s early residents had their initials carved in the bricks of the building.
Original post: Multiple fire departments are on the scene of a fire at Ellsworth City Hall, located on Broadway Street.
The Ellsworth Fire Department was paged to the scene at 6:17 a.m. today, with the Adrian, Rushmore, Luverne, Magnolia and Lismore fire departments, as well as the George, Little Rock and Rock Rapids fire departments in Iowa, called for mutual aid.
Minnesota 91 is closed to traffic through the city of Ellsworth. The Ellsworth Public School has cancelled classes for today.
A Globe reporter is on the scene and updates will be provided as they become available.