Covington historian credits century-old building's structure with slowing massive fire spread

Fire crews from multiple agencies were called on Friday night to help put out a massive fire in Covington that destroyed several businesses

It was a long night for fire crews who worked until sunrise to get the flames that broke out at a historic downtown building under control.


"First crew on scene said they noticed fire outside and it was lapping the outside of the building going to the interior," Interim Fire Chief Joe Doss told FOX 5. "Upon arrival, [we] found the backside of the middle building on this block behind me with flames showing."

Fire officials say the call about the fire at the intersection of Reynolds and Monticello streets came in around 9:30 p.m.

"The fire was going up the exterior of the building, finding cracks and crevices and actually made its way into the building," he said.

A total of four businesses were impacted. Doss said the building’s structure made it extremely difficult to put out.

"The buildings are 100 to 150 years old, some of them close to 200 years old. [There’s] no telling how many layers of roof, no telling how many layers of ceilings are in them from over the years," he explained.

While fire officials said the structure created challenges for crews on scene, a local historian is crediting the century old building’s structure with preventing further damage.

"It concerned me that it might spread," Ray Lustenberger said.

Lustenberger is the Chairman of Covington’s Historic Preservation Commission. He said even though the historic structure may have made the job more difficult for firefighters, it also may have saved other buildings around it from going up in flames.

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"They were built back in the mid to late 20s to early 30s. Them being historic buildings, they’re all encapsulated with brick on all three sides, that kept the integrity of the rest of the buildings, so that was a good thing."

Lustenberger said even still, the shops that were destroyed are a big loss to Covington’s downtown shopping district. 

"Those establishments will be sorely missed because they were both frequented quite a bit by not only residents here, but also visitors that come in."

He told FOX 5 he plans to get in touch with the business owners to see what help they’ll need in re-opening.

It’s unclear what’s next for those businesses now forced to close. Officials said the cause of the fire here is still under investigation.