Downtown Bristow Businesses Damaged by Fire, Owners Will Rebuild

Wednesday, November 24th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Fire ripped through the heart of another small Oklahoma town Monday night. Three local businesses in Bristow will have to rebuild and miss out on the busy shopping season.

In small towns, big fires just seem to hurt more. People came from all around Bristow to try and save the historic block. A day later, they came to say goodbye. Richard Spendiff and his wife bought and restored a downtown building constructed in 1922. "I managed to salvage all of my customer's furniture,” said Spendiff. “It's wet but it's all fine." Years of fixing up their antiques restoration business and their home above it disappeared in a fiery flash.

Amanda Nedlose wonders why dozens of cases of ammunition and expensive guns didn't burn up in her gun store. "The hunters have been calling me all morning,” said Nedlose. “They were all just sick about the fire and crying on the phone.” Nedlose says that the business owners used our heads during the blaze. “We got the black powder out of the store, which is very deadly,” she said. “I just kept screaming to the fire department to get the powder out." Tuesday morning, the rubble was still burning.

A fire of this type has occurred before in Bristow. In 1997, flames devoured an office building and vacant apartment building. A wall collapsed and injured two firefighters. This time, no one was hurt. Firefighters from three counties came to downtown Bristow. It took them a couple of hours to knock down the flames, and the rain showers in the area actually helped bring the fire under control.

Spendiff is just glad the disaster happened in Bristow, where people are so willing to help. "If this fire had occurred in a big city or even England, we wouldn't rebuild,” he said. “The people have been wonderful in Bristow. We have received more offers of help than we could ever imagine." Investigators haven't tallied the dollar amount on the loss. They think a cigarette or a still-lit-match in the trash may have caused the fire.