Historical Building Damaged by Fire in Columbus

By: 10/11 News
By: 10/11 News

Columbus, Neb.-- Columbus firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire that damaged a historical building.

Columbus Fire Chief Dean Hefti says crews responded to 1065 17th Ave., the old Coca-Cola Bottling building, just before 5 a.m. Thursday.

Hefti says as of 8 a.m. crews were still on scene doing overhaul after flames ripped through the building.

The brick structure, also known as the C. Segelke Building, was built in 1887 as the Columbus Bottling Works and is listed on the Nebraska Register of Historic Places.

Online records show the building was being renovated to be an art gallery, but Hefti believes the building was used for storage.

At five Thursday morning, Dustin Griesman, the owner of the building's son, got a phone call from a friend saying his father's building was on fire.

"The liutenant noticed heavy smoke. We ended up with 50 firefighters, two arials and a pumper equipment truck," said Columbus Fire Chief Dean Hefti.

Hefti beleives the fire started in a wood-burning stove in the basement. Griesman said he stood and watched for a bit as fire crews battled the flames- but had to leave.
He did come back and help crews sort through what was left.

"We did ask the city street department to two dumptrucks and a loader down for us to do overhaul- they took five trips," said Hefti.

Despite extensive interior damage, this isn't the end for the historic building. The outside walls are still standing.

"The floors are going to have to be rebuilt," said Hefti.

And that's just what Griesman plans to do himself.

This morning after crews left he was already going through the building, picking up debris.

This morning Griesman said he plans to pay for the repairs out-of- pocket. He said the only available funding he has found would require him to match 50 percent of what he is given, and that is not a realistic possibility for him.

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