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Historic St. Francisville building up in smoke

3 years ago May 24, 2012 May 24, 2012 Thursday, May 24 2012 Thursday, May 24, 2012 5:11:06 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Stephanie Ryan

BATON ROUGE - The Blue Room Saloon and adjoining gift shop managed to save just a few historic murals from the 1920s, after a Thursday morning blaze gutted nearly the whole building.

St. Francisville Fire Chief Tom Robinson estimates the damage at more than 1,000,000 dollars.  The owner of the business was beside herself as she told News 2 she just recently sunk $100,000 into restoring the building to grow her business.

Now, she will have to clear through a charred mess with insurance adjusters.  What is left behind is a pile of soot-covered rubble, charred walls, a caved-in ceiling, and windows that lead to charred remains.

"I didn't even know what to think, really," saloon employee Kristine Fricke said.  "I was just speechless."

Even with all the destruction, Robinson said he expected the fire to be worse.

"I thought we were gonna be lucky if we saved anything," Robinson said.  "I thought it was gonna go to the ground."

The building was used as a cafe and dance hall in the 1920s, according to the owner.  She said the building was dilapidated when she began restoring it in 2009.

She plans to re-open the business, but has no idea when or where that will happen.

Right now, she is scrambling to notify and work with wedding parties who had planned rehearsals and receptions inside the building this weekend.

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