Cleaning crews and volunteers spent part of Saturday doing what they could to salvage items from the Fischer law office building and remove smoke and water damage from the Benton County title building.
Several men, wearing dusk masks, hauled files from the Fischer building to the nearby former Benton Co. DHS building, which is currently unoccupied, for temporary storage. The county supervisors have been hearing from engineers what it may cost to renovate that building.
John Fischer announced on Friday that the law office would be seeking a temporary home. Clients may still use the same phone number, 472-2353, or call John on his cell phone at 319-361-0724. John shares the office with his brother, Robert, who is also the Vinton City Attorney.
The Fischers, say John, hope to be able to rebuild in their present location.
“Bob and I would prefer to retain the front of the building and rebuild in the same space. My personal wish would be to rebuild better than before and keep that block intact as a signature space for downtown Vinton,” says John. “I have alwasy enjoyed the unified look of those four buildings, which reflects the history and beauty of Vinton, as I have tried to do for years. Vinton needs a beautiful and vibrant downtown, strong employment keyed by those living or woking in Vinton, and residents who not only support and help each other, but also welcome others to this community. I would hope this fire creates a greater spirit to work together and make Vinton even better.
In the meantime, the Fischers will be talking to claims adjusters and re-establishing their practices for ongoing legal work, says John. He was able to remove some files and hard drives the night of the fire. Later, when it was unsafe to enter the building due to smoke, four firefighters wearing breathing equipment assisted in removing other items.
Yet, much was lost; the lower front office and Bob’s office were total losses due to water damage. John says that due to the structural instability of the second floor, he is not yet able to get upstairs to see what, if, anything is left.
However, the Fischers are very thankful for all the efforts firefighters made to save their building from total destruction.
“My thanks to everyone at the fire department for their courage and hard work in containing the fire during a long, cold night and saving our building,” he said. “God bless them all from the bottom of my heart.”
See more photos HERE.