Job of cleaning up continues |

Job of cleaning up continues

Workers from Robinson Enterprises Inc. of Nevada City works on the Commercial Street side of the old Elks building earlier this week.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

The pile of bricks is rising as more of the old Elks Lodge in downtown Nevada City comes down.

The process resumed Friday as Robinson Enterprises workers continued tearing down the fire-destroyed building at North Pine and Commercial streets – in time to clear more room for pedestrians and vehicles for this weekend’s Easter crowd.

“The cleanup is going really well,” said Robinson supervisor Don Hoffler.

He expected the cleanup would continue at least through next week, when insurance investigators are expected to finish their look into the March 20 blaze.

“They’re never going to be able to pinpoint, ‘That’s what started it.’ But they’re going to come up with an area and maybe a guess (on the cause), and that’s about it,” said Hoffler, who’s also a 49er Fire Protection District battalion chief.

Federal, state and local investigators had already claimed the fire started in the laundry room of Friar Tuck’s Restaurant on the first floor, but restaurant owners Greg and Rona Cook have called the report premature and inaccurate.

The fire also destroyed The Herb Shop, which was also home to a record store and deli; and the Nevada County Probation Department. Off Broadstreet theater had major smoke and water damage, and co-owner Jan Kopp said it will also be demolished.

A wall shared by two Broad Street businesses, Java John’s and The Earth Store, will also be torn down, according to Hoffler.

Cleanup workers Friday leveled a corner of the historic building to make it safe for a newly opened walkway along Commercial Street and one-way vehicle traffic along North Pine.

Meanwhile, the bricks are being saved.

“They’re going to attempt to use some in the redesign … some part of the new look,” Hoffler said.

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