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Demolition begins after Aug. 22 downtown Mendota apartment fire, no plans to rebuild

Demolition of the building at the 800 block of downtown Mendota began Thursday after it was considered a total loss from a fire Aug. 22.

More than 20 nearby cities assisted in containing the fire that burned for nearly 11 hours. Crews were not able to save the building, which contained a 15-unit apartment complex and the Waterfalls bar and restaurant.

Demolition is expected to be complete by Tuesday, according to City Clerk Emily McConville. The city spent the last week talking to building owners and insurance while finishing the fire investigation. McConville said because the building poses a significant safety issue, all parties were on board to move quickly to tear it down.

An excavator demolishes the genuine "Bull" Durham Smoking Tobacco mural in the 800 block of Main Street in Mendota on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. On Aug. 22, 2022, more than 20 fire departments from all over the Illinois Valley battled an apartment fire that destroyed the entire block.

An excavator demolishes the genuine “Bull” Durham Smoking Tobacco mural in the 800 block of Main Street in Mendota on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. On Aug. 22, 2022, more than 20 fire departments from all over the Illinois Valley battled an apartment fire that destroyed the entire block. (Scott Anderson – sanderson@shawmedia.com/)

One of the first parts of the building to come down was the Bull Durham mural on one of the side walls.

“As sad as it is to see the mural come down, it’s a relief to see it go,” McConville said. “We were lucky no one got hurt in the fire and we want to keep it that way.”

There are no plans to rebuild. Instead, the city is considering using the space to fix the intersection of Eighth and Main streets. McConville said the intersection is unsafe the way it is, planning to instead straighten out Eighth Street and take it one block west.

An excavator demolishes the genuine "Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco" mural located in the 800 block of Main Street in Mendota on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.

An excavator demolishes the genuine “Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco” mural located in the 800 block of Main Street in Mendota on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Scott Anderson – sanderson@shawmedia.com/)

Because it’s only been a little over a week after the fire, the city doesn’t have any firm plans regarding the intersection. It could take a year or more to begin construction because the project is dependent on grant funding, which has not been rolled out yet.

McConville said the city doesn’t want to rush and will take its time to plan out the project.

“We want to do things the right way.”

The cause of the fire still is under investigation.

The 800 block of Main Street in Mendota is being cleared Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. There are no plans to rebuild.

The 800 block of Main Street in Mendota is being cleared Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. There are no plans to rebuild. (Scott Anderson – sanderson@shawmedia.com/)

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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