‘Tomorrow’s a new day’: Owner of century-old Karlsruhe building destroyed by fire staying positive

Local News

A pile of rubble is all that remains after a fire in Karlsruhe on Wednesday night.

Where a man’s woodshop once stood and much more that, he and his wife shared for 20 years is now no more.

This century-old building that residents considered a landmark in Karlsruhe was gone within a matter of minutes.

“When I got here, it was….pretty much what you see,” said Jonathan Brewer, the owner of the shop.

“Everything just went up. I mean you could see people were, they could see the flames from 5-10 miles away because it was a tall building,” said Karlsruhe Mayor Galen Keller.

“At 7 p.m., I got a text from her that said, ‘[She] burnt the shop down,'” said Brewer.

Jonathan and Annette Brewer bought the old hardware store two decades ago.

They converted it into a woodshop — Cyprus Builders — and Annette also restored antiques there.

Credit: Nicki Brekhus Ortmann

Jonathan says she was working on a project when some of the chemicals caught on fire.

“She was going to try to put it out. But by the time she got from the door back, it was out of control,” said Brewer.

Keller says Karlsruhe firefighters and three nearby departments spent the next three hours working to contain the flames.

The 100-year-old building was reduced to shattered glass, metal and burned wood — with some pieces still smoldering the following day.

Brewer says antique furniture, a mantle from the civil war, cabinets and equipment were all destroyed.

While those things can’t be seen, the skeleton of a bicycle can be picked out of the debris.

“The void will be that it’s open now. Once it’s all cleaned up and filled in, you won’t be able to tell there was a fire,” said Keller.

Brewer says he plans on cleaning everything up and just filling it in with dirt. But for now, he’s focused on taking it one day at a time.

“Like last night after Mass, they asked me, ‘What are you going to do?’ I’m going to go home and have a beer. That’s what I’m going to do,” said Brewer. “And then tomorrow’s a new day.”

The Karlsruhe mayor says the community stands by the couple and supports them.

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