A little over a month since a fire burned a historic portion of Bisbee’s Main Street, leaving businesses closed and brick rubble on the street.

After more than four weeks, firefighters still can’t get in to determine the cause of the fire due to safety concerns over the structural integrity of the buildings themselves, said Bisbee Mayor Ken Budge in a news release Monday.

What the decision comes down to is a choice between an attempt at ‘preservation’ and reconstruction that will allow a quicker reopening.

Budge says the city is working with experts in preservation and stabilization, leaving leaders with what he calls a “concerning reality”the need for a solution that will allow engineers into the building to begin the rebuild and reopening process.

What that could mean is that the brick walls of the damaged building will need to be partially dismantled down to the second-story windows, then reconstructed. Other options the city explored, such as bracing the damaged walls, could only provide a temporary fix according to Budge. That approach won’t allow the buildings to be reconstructed to historic standards.


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Structural engineers and preservation experts say the fire’s intense heat compromised the buildingspecifically the brickswhich are composed of sand and limestone mortar. Bricks from the historic building can be reused for design purposes, but not structural.

According to Budge, the decision to deconstruct the damaged portion of the building will allow for a quicker reopening timeline.



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