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TELL CITY – A building that towered over Tell City’s downtown for more than a century was destroyed early Monday by a fire that left little more than its walls standing.
Capers restaurant, located at Main and Mozart streets, was destroyed by the blaze, which as dawn broke, was still being fought by firefighters from several departments. No one was injured but the three-story building, constructed in 1894 by the city’s Odd Fellows lodge and for many years a mens clothing store, was gutted.
The fire was reported at 1:31 a.m. by a night watchman for Mulzer Crushed Stone who stopped by the police station across the street from Capers to report smoke coming from the building. Firefighters worked to contain the blaze and fought the fire in the restaurant’s basement before they were ordered out.
Heat from the fire later erupted through the roof and much of it had collapsed.
Along with firefighters from Tell City, members of Cannelton’s and Anderson Township’s fire departments responded with personnel and equipment. Tell City’s two ladder trucks delivered water through windows and on the roof and Carter Fire District responded with its ladder truck.
Firefighters worked to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings in the 700 block of Main Street.
Odd Fellows members dedicated the building in 1894 and it remained one of the city’s most recognizable structures. Chris Watts owned the restaurant, which opened about two decades ago. He was visiting family members out of state over the weekend and was due to fly back Monday.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross provided food and drinks to firefighters.