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Greenfield’s historic Riley Park shelter house destroyed by fire



Greenfield, Indiana – In Greenfield, a historic building suffers fire damage. The cause of the fire at the Riley Park shelter house is being investigated.

The refuge house is now enclosed in warning tape, and the windows have been shut up.

“It means something to the entire community,” said Chuck Fewell, mayor of Greenfield.

Firefighters were called at 9:15 on Wednesday morning to a blaze that was erupting from the old structure. Since the 1930s, there has been a shelter house in Riley Park.

“Looks like maybe we can save it but we don’t know yet so it’ll take a little while,” said Steve Kropacek, Fire Marshal with Greenfield Fire Territory.

An aerobics class was scheduled to begin at the same time that the fire started. The class often has 15 to 20 senior folks present. Thanks to the cancellation of the class, no one was inside the premises.

“The good Lord was looking down wasn’t he,” said Mayor Fewell.

Programs and classes are held daily in the Riley Park shelter house. Summertime day camps are available. Families get together in the refuge house all year long. Even Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell made a lot of community memories inside those walls.

“My grandson’s birthday was held here, his first one. You can rent it. my wife’s family has had a reunion here, oh my goodness, I can’t remember how long we’ve used it on a Sunday to have a family reunion,” said Mayor Fewell.

Although they are unaware of the specific cause, investigators think the fire began close to the attic. Officials don’t now consider it suspicious.

“They had just remodeled this entire building with new floors, new ceilings and everything in it has been new,” said Mayor Fewell.

The entire town is filled with both sadness and a sense of relief.

“I hate to lose this building and as bad as I hate to say this, I can replace that building but one life I could not replace and there isn’t any way to put a value on anything of that nature,” says Mayor Fewell.

Programs are being moved to other buildings on-site and maybe off-site by park directors.