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Fire destroys 2 of Bisbee's historic buildings

Fire destroyed two of Bisbee’s historic buildings this week. 

Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge said that even though firefighters responded within minutes, the fire burned faster than they could put it out; protecting the surrounding buildings became the priority.

“These two buildings were actually the brick buildings that stopped a fire from coming down the canyon back in 1904,” said Budge. “And now these are the two that burned up.”

A former fire captain, he grabbed a hose while waiting for more firefighters to arrive.

“They tried the initial attack, trying to knock it down,” Budge said. “But by then it was already through two floors and just wasn’t able to get it under control. So we went into defensive mode and just tried to protect buildings on both sides.”

The people who live in apartments above the businesses, Many Fine Things and Bisbee Oil & Vinegar, got out safely. Until the buildings are stabilized, Main Street will be partially closed, but some sections will be open to pedestrian traffic.  

“We did lose two historic buildings which is very sad and tough,” said Budge, “but due to a lot of effort it was only two that actually shared a roof together.”

According to Budge, the fire appears to have been accidental, but its cause is still under investigation.

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Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.