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Friday, December 17, 2010

Astoria Fire: A Sad Day

Astoria, Oregon ~ December 17, 2010

It all looks fairly placid, but last night and into the morning, two much-frequented and well-loved iconic Astoria buildings were completely gutted by fire. (I've also shared a very clear and telling video by Chris Patenaude on this blog's Facebook Page.) No one "on the ground" was injured; one of the approximately 80 firefighters on the scene had some damage to one shoulder, according to accounts I've read this morning. Several people took videos of the conflagration in the night. Not only are as many as 10 businesses homeless this morning, but this location was a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Astoria Fire on the Waterfront at 6th Street

Gunderson's Cannery Cafe (a favorite of mine since I arrived in Astoria and a place I've especially enjoyed lately), on the left, is the most talked-about casualty, but there was also a restaurant inside of Number 10 Sixth Street (on the right) that many of us enjoyed at lunch time. The prominent red roof in the middle of the picture is the 6th Street Viewing Platform, another place I cherished. I couldn't tell if it had sustained any damage.

You can look on Google for Astoria fire and see what comes up. At the moment, I'm sad, tired for other reasons, and need to get to work.

Number 10 Sixth Street this morning. At the moment, I don't have time to go into my thoughts or list the businesses that were inside. Suffice it to say, it's a sad day for a lot of people, and not only the owners of the property and businesses.

How many times have I gone in the door on the far right? I used to walk though the building as I was strolling the River Walk in order to look at the paintings by local artists, and I've enjoyed lunch at the Lazy Spoon Cafe just to the right of that doorway. Clatsop Behavioral Center helped many, many people with their counseling and groups, and upstairs was a remarkable refurbished Victorian suite (quite big, maybe 4 bedrooms and an incredible view) where I attended two events, and it could be rented for weekend getaways. I have a number of photos of these two buildings "in life," but they're filed by date, so I'll post them as I find them. Two of my all-time favorite pictures on this blog are of the 6th Street Pier and its buildings:

Festive banners on the 6th Steet Pier with the now-burned buildings on either side of the walk

I got a comment and an e-mail about Number 10 having been the Bumblebee Cannery. I should have mentioned it before, but it was before my time here. Check out the comments linked below, and also the following e-mail:


I didn't see any mention that 10 6th st. used to be Bumblebee Tuna's main offices. And it set vacant till Chester Trubuco took it over and made something of it. The fire is just many that dotted the waterfront of Astoria. I've watched many buildings burn down on the waterfront over the years. It is sad to see Chester's Dream go up in smoke. But the old facility had seen its better days and it was sad to see it go. One of the landmark was the big radio tower and antenna which used to be on the top of the building for many years. It was given to Sunset Empire Amateur Radio Club many years ago and was taken down piece by piece.

The city looses another major landmark.

When people visit the East Basin they forget or don't know about the building of George and Barker that was turned into a fish buying station and burned down in the 80's. It had a long pier and a building at the end which they stored some personal belongings. And it burned down this community has seen its share of spectacular fires over the years since the big fire since Dec. 8th 1922 every few years we have had a big fire. Which one is going to be next?

The way this city is constructed a fire in a basement could cause a good part of the city to go again!

What happened to our fire boat? Did they think we would have no more fires next to the water so they had to get rid of it?


Good question. I was also wondering about the fireboat. Don't we have them at some of the demos during Regatta?

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Anonymous said...

The loss of the old Bumble Bee offices is gutwrenching--this town and that outfit had been tied at the hip for generations-and it was the nicest old building on the waterfront. The cafe building wasn't nearly as important or have the historic value of the Bumble Bee Office bldng.

Jacob said...

How sad! I remember previous posts where you talked about fires in Astoria and the danger of fire. I hate fire!

Clytie said...

I'm actually listening to some news reports right now about the fire. I heard about it this morning as breaking news, and immediately thought of you (as the only person I know in Astoria). I have been to those places myself, some time ago, and remember how much fun we had. What a tragic loss. I know we will be hearing more as time goes on. I just heard the newscaster say "they are saying this fire is very very suspicious." How awful if it was set intentionally. Sigh.

VP said...

This is so sad and I wonder why the fireboat isn't still at work: it looks like a good and fast solution for fires in a city by the water.

cieldequimper said...

This is very sad indeed.

Maybe they can be rebuilt.

Greensboro Daily Photo said...

Fires are heartbreaking, always and ESPECIALLY at this time of year.

Francisca said...

Oh, Sheryl, how tragic... I've been out a lot the last few days, so I missed this... mega-tears... this was such a picturesque corner of Astoria.

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