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Fire destroys old building downtown

| March 23, 2004 11:00 PM

A fire of undetermined origin destroyed the Secondhand Store at 102 Mineral Ave. on Friday morning.

Firefighters were paged out at 8:15 a.m. and spent seven hours on the scene.

An interior attack to suppress the fire was attempted by two initial crews, but their efforts were unsuccessful due to the heavy fuel load and the arrangement of the fuel load within the structure, said assistant fire marshal Steve Lauer.

The Cabinet View Volunteer Fire Department was called in to assist in suppression efforts. A total of 24 firefighters from the Libby Volunteer Fire Department were at the scene along with four volunteers from Cabinet View and four firefighting vehicles.

One firefighter was checked out by Libby Volunteer Ambulance for overexertion and heat stress.

The two-story structure was owned by Ed Feak of Libby. The estimated value of the structure was $20,000 to $30,000; the value of the contents of the building is undermined.

It¹s believed the old building was originally a livery stable when Mineral Avenue was the road down to the river and ferry.

Bob Petrusha said he wouldn¹t be surprised if the old store hadn¹t been a livery stable before it became John McLellan¹s feed and seed store. Petrusha remembers a corral with horses behind it when he was a boy.

Lila Fields remembers McLellan. She said she would accompany her mother to the store to buy feed and McLellan would cry out, ³Here you go girlie² giving her a penny for candy.

Over the years the building had numerous owners including Chauncey Sauer and Dave Weisbeck, who used the store as a furniture store.