Fire guts Rich Square landmark

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 19, 2007

RICH SQUARE – A Sunday morning fire here destroyed a local landmark.

A small army of firefighters representing three departments battled a blaze that gutted the old Myers Theater.

Linwood Lassiter, Assistant Fire Chief for the Rich Square Fire Department, said the blaze was apparently sparked by an electrical malfunction within the historic, two-story structure on Main Street.

Fortunately for other downtown Rich Square business owners, the fast action by the local firemen, assisted by firefighters from Woodland and Murfreesboro, saved their buildings.

Lassiter said Futrell Pharmacy and Roanoke Valley Realty, which flanked the old theatre on either side, suffered only minor smoke damage.

“The old fire walls between those buildings still work after all these years,” Lassiter said.

The old theatre, now used for storage, is co-owned by Jack Boone and William Lucas.

According to the incident report, the call came in at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday. During the course of the fire, 41 total firefighters and nine units from the three departments were on the scene at one time or another. The Rich Square fire trucks cleared the scene at 2 p.m. on Sunday. They were called back at around 9:30 a.m. yesterday (Monday) morning to check on an area of the fire scene that was still smoking.

On Sunday, the one block downtown area between the stoplights was blocked off. Traffic was rerouted on Jackson Street and Short Street.

According to longtime Rich Square resident Ernest Branch, Myers Theatre opened around 1935. It closed in the 1960’s.