By Brenna Wiegand
Photographs by Jim Kinghorn
Silverton Fire District continues its investigation into the April 11 fire that damaged the Palace Theatre, a unique and well-loved fixture in Silverton for 78 years.
Firefighters responded at approximately 7:15 a.m. Wednesday with seven emergency vehicles after a neighbor reported the smell of smoke. They found a hard-hitting, thick smoke and saw the building’s façade being marred. No one was injuried.
Silverton Fire District Captain Ed Grambusch said it took two hours and the aggressive attacks of more than 35 firefighters to extinguish loads of “hot spots” and ventilate choking, damaging smoke, although they had the main part of the fire extinguished within six minutes of arrival.
He said theater owner and Silverton mayor Stu Rasmussen was a great asset in assisting firefighters with specific information about the 7,200-square-foot structure.
“Stu’s very optimistic about opening back up soon, but there is a lot of smoke and other damage,” Grambusch said, adding that he is saddened by the damage to the theatre.
“I remember going there ever since I was 5 years old – in 1975 when we moved here from Portland,” he said. “It’s a historic building and we’re looking forward to getting it repaired,” Grambusch said. He hates to see the demise of the concession stand whose counter he used to peer.
“That concession stand and everything that burned up is the same one,” he said.
Mount Angel Fire Chief Don Fleck and an engine were on hand to assist.