The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

March 4, 2014

Adios, old friend

OTTUMWA — A once-popular restaurant turned dangerous eyesore has been leveled.

A heavy equipment operator, supported by several workers in hardhats, were demolishing the exposed walls of the building Tuesday morning.

In April of last year, El Rancho Grande Mexican restaurant had an electrical fire start at a lamp on the lower level. The fire department was called around midnight.

"We responded at 12:08 a.m.," said Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller. "At one point, we almost had it contained. [But] around 3 a.m. the fire went through the roof."

At that point, the goal became to protect surrounding structures, Miller said; that part of downtown has buildings close to one another. There's a small grocery store, a radio station and other businesses at that corner of Jefferson and Main streets.

By the time the department packed up more than 12 hours later, the structure was a wreck. What the fire hadn't destroyed, the thousands of gallons of water had flooded.

But even with the fire extinguished, there was danger. At the time, firefighters warned that the remaining three-story walls should be avoided. The walls just didn't have enough structural support to remain standing very long. The city of Ottumwa blocked off the alley (used as a through road) behind "El Rancho," but places like the American Red Cross were within falling distance of some of the walls.

Miller said all the paperwork was finally done and the insurance company had ordered the demolition.

"I've been hearing the 'booms' all morning," said Christine Ayala, who works at the Red Cross office.

The construction workers inspired confidence in Ayala, who said that despite the smashing and breaking going on, she had no fears about bricks or front loaders coming through her office wall.

Text Only
Ottumwa
  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0625 OTT Riverfront Renaissance color photo -L -M Riverfront Renaissance begins mapping out ideas

    OTTUMWA — It was serious work to play with stickers and maps Tuesday evening. Concentration was on more than 70 faces as colored dots found their way up and down several maps of the river flowing through downtown Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National