Historic Maysville row houses to be demolished after fire

Five killed in 2015 fire
Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 18:58:13-04

MAYSVILLE, Ky. -- Almost two years after a fire killed five in Maysville, city leaders say the historic row homes damaged will be demolished, despite efforts to preserve the buildings.

Lori Doppelheuer, 35, and her three children -- Christopher Kearney, 10, Eagan Hargis, 3, and Kieran Hargis, 20 months -- died when the fire ravaged their row house on Second Street Oct. 20, 2015. The family's neighbor, Larry Brickels, 68, also was killed.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined. Fire officials at the time said it appeared to be accidental.

Shortly after the fire, the Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation came in and tried to preserve the 1830s building. However, one of the row homes collapsed after a heavy summer rain storm. That compromised the entire structure.

Local historian Orloff Miller said the heavy rainstorm sealed the building's fate.

"It just overloaded the exposed floors and brought the rest of the walls down," he said.

The building is on the National Register for Historic Places.

"It became a public safety issue, and we had some folks look at it and basically said, 'They're all unstable,'" Maysville City Manager Matt Wallingford said.

Wallingford said it will be a loss for the city.

"This section of town was really starting to move along," he said. "It was going to be great, and still is going to be great, but we're obviously going to have that void now with those row homes."

The Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation will still own the property. City officials aren't sure if they'll build anything else there.

Demolition is expected to take several weeks.

"It's very tragic," Miller said. "The fire was more tragic than losing the building, of course, because lives were lost."