Greencastle businesses bounce back 1 year after downtown fire

GREENCASTLE, Ind. - A fire that burned several downtown Greencastle businesses in 2013 put a dent in the pockets of shop owners, but now, most of the retailers are up and running again.

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The stubborn fire sparked on the morning of May 17, 2013, in a building that sits along Washington Street off the courthouse square.

Nearly 100 firefighters from 18 departments battled the blaze that caused an estimated $1.5 million in damages, Mayor Sue Murray said.

"It was huge. Anytime you have a historic downtown and if you suddenly lose four buildings in it, it's a tremendous hole. We've had those holes in the past and they are difficult to take care," Murray said.

Wilson's Photography was one of the businesses that took a hit, even though owner Lester Wilson said it took some convincing.

"It took some persuasion. I was ready to quit, quite honestly. I wanted to dump the building and move on to something else," Wilson said.

Despite the odds, Wilson stayed along with fellow businessman Dentist Perry Wainman.

"With a lot of insurance and local construction people, they were able to put it back together like it was," Wainman said.

Murray said Greencastle is using $19 million in state grants to beautify and redevelop its downtown.

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