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Building To Stay Standing

May 25, 2012

Staff photo/Beth Lipton: Pictured is the Opera House in New Bremen, which caught fire earlier this year.

NEW BREMEN — Cleanup and renovation are on the horizon for a historic downtown New Bremen building that was damaged in a fire earlier this year.

The Opera House, which is owned by Crown Equipment Corporation and located on West Monroe Street in New Bremen, caught fire on Feb. 27, causing extensive damage to the inside and roof of the building. Five area fire departments — including Minster/Jackson Township, St. Marys Township, St. Marys, Chickasaw and Wapakoneta — responded to the fire and worked late into the night to fight the blaze as a crowd village residents looked on in hopes that the historical building could be saved.

Since the fire, the building has been boarded up, and workers are cleaning up the debris.

“Right now, we are in the clean-up phase and the next stage is to put a new roof on it and get the building closed up,” Crown Equipment Corporation Human Resources Vice President Randy Niekamp told The Evening Leader.

The building, which was constructed in 1895, appears to be structurally sound, Niekamp said.

“The shell of the building appears to be structurally sound, so all indications are that we can save the building and get the new roof on,” he said.

Crown Equipment Corporation is currently deciding what to do what the building that was once home to Fireside Pub and Que’s Barbershop.

He noted that Crown Equipment Corporation has not decided if the Opera House will again be home to area businesses and said there is not a timeline for renovations to be completed.

“We’re still working on the plans of what it’s going to be used for and how it’ll be laid out,” Niekamp said.

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