From the Archives

The Southern Democrat, May 2, 1974

Three Oneonta stores lost in Saturday night fire

Persistent and recurring flames destroyed three business houses on Oneonta’s main street Saturday night. Razed by the blaze were buildings housing Buy-Wise Discount Center, Prickett’s Store for Men, and Lorch Jewelry Store. All three are losses.

What started as a small fire in the rear of the discount store quickly mushroomed into a bigger fire. As smoke seeped into Prickett’s next door, David Nation, who owns the store, called on spectators to help remove his stock. Lorch’s management saved the store’s stock of diamonds and the store records, but all else was destroyed.

Burnt-out stores to be rebuilt

Rubble from three stores destroyed in Oneonta’s Saturday night fire still smoldered Monday. David Nation said Prickett’s would be rebuilt on the same site at the earliest possible date. A spokesman for Lorch, Inc., said Lorch’s would open an emergency office this week. The firm said it expects to rebuild in the same location within four to six months.

Tuesday afternoon, Buy-Wise Discount Center’s Atlanta headquarters advised The Democrat that announcement would be made within the week as to the firm’s plans to relocate to continue serving the county.

Thanks due (editorial by Morris W. Wimpee, Executive Editor)

Citizens of Oneonta are profoundly in debt not only to our own fire department, but to those of our neighboring towns and cities who joined in to control the fire downtown last Saturday night. They fought the fire into Sunday morning and, although three stores were lost, they prevented the fire from spreading to a much larger area than it did.

We have only admiration for firefighters. They run great risks in their efforts. Obviously Oneonta merchants felt the same way when they opened their places to provide firemen with coffee, cold drinks, and other assistance during those long, wearing hours.

Much as Blount Countians may differ with each other in their day-to-day lives, when trouble strikes helping hands are quickly extended. And this is neighborliness at its best. It’s nice to live among people like ours.