Shop Owners Survey Damage To Historic Bartlesville Building

Tuesday, September 1st 2009, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, OK -- Investigators believe they know what caused a fire at the 99-year-old May Brothers building in downtown Bartlesville. And they have taken a look at the old building to see if it can be saved.

Meanwhile, shop owners are getting their chance to see the damage and what's left of their businesses firsthand.

One by one, shop owners are trying to salvage what they can from the May Brothers building.

For salon owner, Vivian McCorvey, that's 28 years of now waterlogged and smoke stained memories.

"I wanted to fall to pieces and cry because it is just overwhelming. It's devastating," said Vivian McCorvey, salon owner.

A day after a fire gutted the building, there is shock and disbelief, but mostly sadness.

8/31/2009  Related Story: Massive Fire Damages Historic Bartlesville Building

"It's like a different world, like you've stepped into a TV set of a disaster, but it's not a TV set," said Patricia Legatski, business owner.

"I couldn't even put it into words," said Vivian McCorvey.

The building housed eight businesses. City fire inspectors believe at this point, the fire was caused by an electrical problem.

The historic building didn't have any tenants on the third floor. The roof is missing and the windows are busted out.

On the second floor, there were several tenants who are now cleaning up. There is a lot of smoke and water damage.

City engineers have inspected the building and believe it can be saved.

"We've got a few loose bricks up and around the top, but structurally evidently this was the very first steel supported building built in the city of Bartlesville and you can sure tell it made a difference during this fire," said Bill Hollander, Bartlesville Assistant Fire Chief.

The owner says he's not sure whether he'll restore the building. Many of the longtime business owners hope he does.

"We're strong people; we're going to make it. This is a new beginning, it's not the end. It's just a new beginning," said Vivian McCorvey.

For now, they're left scrambling to relocate, as they clean up and clear out what the fire, smoke and water left behind.

Fire crews blocked off a part of Frank Phillips Boulevard until they could determine if the building was in danger of falling. Firefighters will limit traffic along Frank Phillips for at least a couple more days.