Clean up for downtown Forks fire begins

Fire clean up

Chris Cook - Forks Forum photo

Demoltion workers were clearing debris Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 18 from the site of the October downtown Forks fire. crew cleared the sidewalk front the burnt out corner lot, moving debris from the S. Division Street side and the Forks Ave. side.

At the Monday evening, Dec. 10 meeting of the Forks City Council, the council approved a bid of about $45,000 from D&H Enterprises to clear debris from the City of Forks side of the site where the historic International Order of Odd Fellows Hall was located. The highest bid for the job was about $97,000. 

The adjacent building on the site, the former Olympic Pharmacy, is owned by Alaska Financial Co. of Anchorage. The firm announced earlier this month that their side of the fire debris site will be cleared at the same time as the IOOF hall side. The firm bought the building in a foreclosure sale.

The early-morning fire totally gutted the City of Forks-owned historic circa 1925 International Order of Odd Fellows hall and the adjacent Olympic Pharmacy building located on the corner of Division St. and Forks Ave.

Investigators reported that a non-suspicious electrical short in a conduit box at the rear of the IOOF building set the fire. There were no injuries due to the fire.

La Tienda, the Latino food and general merchandise store located on the first floor of the IOOF hall has relocated to a space in the Almar Building on Bogachiel Way. The commercial space was formerly occupied by the state Department of Licensing office, which was relocated to the state Department of Health and Human Services building located on Bogachiel Way near Forks Community Hospital.

The Olympic Pharmacy building was shuttered, last used by the Dazzled by Twilight store, which has been closed for over one year. 

The City of Forks holds some $3.7 million in insurance on the IOOF hall. Community members have been writing letters to the Forks Forum suggesting redesigns for the building space, and lobbying to have the RAC theater rebuilt.

A wake of sorts for the IOOF hall is scheduled for January, where Forks residents are being invited to recall stories about the hall. The West End Historical Society held a meeting Tuesday where society members and community members were asked to bring photos and stories about the two destroyed buildings. 

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