A Sunday afternoon fire destroyed two buildings in downtown Kinderhook. At least one of those is being demolished. Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the blaze. As our Megan Cruz reports, while no one was injured, the fire was still a tragedy.
KINDERHOOK, N.Y. -- "Just had a lot of memories. It used to be Lou's Market, and a little liquor store," said Kinderhook resident Jan Monks, as she takes a picture of buildings 4 and 6 on Broad Street. Or rather what's left after them. They had stood the test of time since the 1800s till a fire gutted them Sunday afternoon.
"They were so involved that our focus became saving numbers 2 and 8 and the adjoining building to the back because if it had gone, it would taken the entire block," said Kinderhook Fire Chief Pete Hunter.
The chief says the fire broke out around 5:20 p.m. Sunday. It took five departments more than three hours to put out.
People here say they've lost more than just buildings.
"They're part of our past," said Monks. "And part of nicer days when Kinderhook was more thriving, more of a community."
And in a village where the country's eighth president was born, history has always been integral to their identity. But especially when that history was to help their future.
"We were just about to get a really nice restaurant in there, which was hopeful in reviving the community," said Monks.
The landowner of the two buildings said he couldn't talk to us on camera. He was too upset about his tenant being weeks away from opening an Italian restaurant in 6 Broad Street.
However, he did tell the mayor he plans to rebuild. She says it's a legacy that'll be hard to replace.
"Because of the history, and it's a focal point in the Village Square and everybody has fond memories of the two buildings," said Kinderhook Mayor Carol Weaver. "I don't think it'll ever be the same again."
The mayor says she hopes she's wrong; others echo the sentiment. They say they don't want to live in the past if it jeopardizes their future.