#8 News Story:Crescent Cottage restoration underway after fire

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A historic structure in Eureka Springs

sustained damage after a fire Sept. 22.

Fire marshal Jim Kelley said firefighters

received a call about a fire at Crescent

Cottage at 9:23 a.m., saying he was

one of the first firefighters on the scene.

“We had smoke coming from underneath

the porch area at the street level

and down on the sides of the building,”

Kelley said. “There was no fire seen

anywhere, but heavy smoke was emitted

from major parts of the building.”

The owners of the building, Kelley

said, were on the back deck drinking

coffee when they heard smoke alarms

go off.

“They went inside to see what it was

and realized the parlor room on the

street level was filling full of smoke

fast,” Kelley said. “They got out of the

house and called 911.”

The fire department put out

a call for all available firefighters,

Kelley said, including

those from Holiday Island,

Inspiration Point and Grassy

Knob. Grassy Knob Rural Fire

Department couldn’t respond

because of Bikes, Blues and

BBQ, Kelley said, but Holiday

Island sent five firefighters

and Inspiration Point sent four. Midwest

Medical Transport was there on standby,

Kelley said.

“We worked for just over an hour before

we had control of the fire, and then

about two hours later had extinguished

it,” Kelley said.

That’s when the fire department began

investigating the cause of the blaze,

Kelley said.

“We began with the laundry level.

There was heavy fire damage to that

room,” Kelley said. “The room above

it was the parlor room on

street level, and it had moderate

fire damage.”

The rest of the building

had smoke damage, Kelley

said, but very little water or

fire damage. The investigation

isn’t complete, Kelley

said, but it’s likely the fire

started in the laundry room.

“There was probably a lint fire in the

dryer that extended out from the dryer

to the rest of the room,” Kelley said.

The structure was saved, he said, because

of its quick-thinking owners and a

working smoke detector. Locals reached

out to help Ray and Elise Dilfield, the

owners of the 1881 Crescent Cottage

Inn. Lynn Berry said friends and neighbors

could make a donation to Cornerstone

Bank to make it a little easier for

the couple.

Ray Dilfield received approval from

the Eureka Springs Historic District

Commission on Nov. 15 to remove two

secondary chimneys on the structure.

The fire weakened the structure, Dilfield

said, and it’s possible the building

will collapse if the two chimneys aren’t

removed before construction continues.

“If we try to pull that wall back in,

the chimney could collapse, which puts

everyone and the structure at risk,” Dilfield

said.

Commissioner Melissa Greene said

she applauds Dilfield’s efforts to restore

the building.

“I’m truly sorry you have to go

through this. I think, considering the

amount of work, the safety of this is

far greater than those two chimneys,”

Greene said.

The commission voted unanimously

to approve the work.

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