Chris Wawro, owner of aerial photography business Aero-Fotografik, captured these aerial shots of the aftermath of a large early-morning fire on April 26 that heavily damaged two buildings on the south side of East Troy’s historic village square. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

By Vanessa Lenz

SLN Staff

Two buildings on East Troy’s historic village square that were heavily damaged by an early morning fire April 26 will soon be torn down.

The buildings have listed addresses of 2885 Main St., 2887 Main St., 2883 Main St. and 2113 Church St.

Firefighters from several area departments battled the stubborn flames for nearly four hours, beginning at 1:51 a.m.

The corner building that housed Peddler Resale Shop, Synergy HomeCare, four upstairs apartments and one lower level apartment was deemed a total loss. The adjacent building, which was home to KB’s Barbershop and two apartments, was heavily damaged.

Although no injuries were reported, occupants from the seven apartments were displaced from their homes.

Village President Randy Timms said the village building inspector Scott Johnson has issued a raze order to the owners of the properties per village municipal code.

“(The Village of East Troy) has found that the following described building is dilapidated and consequently, dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise unfit for human habitation and that repair of the building is unreasonable, and has determined that the cost of repairs to the building would exceed 50 percent of the assessed value of the building divided by the ratio of the assessed value to the recommended value as last published by the State of Wisconsin, Department of Revenue for the village,” the raze order said.

Timms said such orders are a matter of public safety and are also issued to prevent public nuisance.

“Also, as there is no expectation these buildings could be repaired, there is no reason to allow them to stand any longer than necessary,” Timms said.

The timeline for the razing is yet to be determined.

According to the raze order, the property owners have until June 25 to raze the buildings, but the village board can push back the date if it deems necessary.

The corner building is owned by Lake Country Partnership of Mukwonago and Tim and Chris Barr own the other damaged building.

Timms said one of the property owners approached the East Troy Village Board with concerns regarding the short time period given to raze the property.

The board assured them it would work with them as needed to accommodate their needs, according to Timms.

“A fire such as this is (obviously) unexpected. After it occurs, many people are caught in the midst of rules and regulations they had no intention of ever being involved in,” Timms said. “So on one hand is the need to clean up the site(s) to the satisfaction of the public (safety). But on the other is working with the people who are caught in this unexpected circumstance to allow them time to deal appropriately with the results.

“ The Village Board will weigh both sides carefully and assist in whatever way we can. Obviously, once any issues of safety are addressed, we want to work with all parties to insure they get what they need.”

The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Following the fire, Village of East Troy Police Chief Alan Boyes said the state fire marshal and three agents from the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation were leading the investigation, but it was too early to tell if it was an accidental or suspicious fire.

He expected the inquiry to take several weeks.

 

 

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