Fire strikes Wakonda’s Main Street

Fire strikes Wakonda's Main Street Members of the Wakonda Fire Department battle a biting cold wind Tuesday as they empty fire hoses of water on Wakonda's Main Street after extinguishing the blaze in the Sundown Cafe and Lounge. Despite poor weather conditions, no firemen were injured. The Senior Citizens Center suffered smoke damage, forcing officials to move election polls to the McMahon Center. by David Lias An early Tuesday morning fire has destroyed a popular Wakonda Main Street business.

Fire struck the Sundown Cafe and Lounge shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Wakonda Fire Chief Mike Pollman said the fire department was notified of the fire at 2:46 a.m.

"It was a fairly advanced fire by that time," he said.

Weather conditions posed a challenge to the department's fire fighting efforts. Early Tuesday morning, one of the first winter storms of the season had moved into southeastern South Dakota.

"It had started snowing, and the wind was cooking pretty

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good right here on Main Street," Pollman said. "It didn't hamper our efforts to a real large point, it just made it a lot tougher for us to work."

After the Wakonda department responded to the fire, the Vermillion and Irene fire departments were called for assistance. Vermillion and Irene fire fighters stayed at the scene until 11 a.m. Tuesday. Wakonda firemen stayed on Main Street until 1 p.m.

There was no one in the building when the fire was reported. No firemen were injured while battling the blaze.

Pollman said fire had not yet vented itself through the roof when the Wakonda Fire Department arrived on scene.

"We immediately started an interior attack of the fire when we arrived on scene," he said.

Pollman said the Wakonda Senior Citizens Center and First Premier Bank are located adjacent to the Sundown Cafe.

Both were closed Tuesday. "They both received some smoke damage, but no fire damage," Pollman said.

In a phone conservation Tuesday afternoon, Pollman added that he couldn't provide further information on the blaze or the extent of damages until routine inspection of the fire scene is complete.

"The fire is under investigation," he said.

The Sundown was an old brick building, and it was built in 1919. They served breakfast, dinner and supper, and was a popular place for people to socialize over cups of coffee.

The Senior Citizens Center was scheduled as a voting precinct in Tuesday's general election, he said, and voting was moved to the McMahon Center at St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

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