The third of February marks the first anniversary of the fire that devastated downtown Madelia. At about 2:30 a.m. February 3, 2016 an explosion was heard in the vicinity of what was then Hope and Faith Floral and Gift Shop. The fire quickly spread along the some of the main businesses in downtown Madelia.

The Madelia Fire Department was on the scene first, but were undermanned. As if the fire itself was not enough, there was also a significant blizzard happening in the area at the same time. The blizzard made it difficult to reach the scene because of closed highways and snow-covered roads. After a period of time St. James FD and Lake Crystal FD arrived by 4:30 a.m. By 10:30 a.m. the fire was not completely extinguished, but was contained. Businesses that were damaged by the fire include: Culligan Water, Kay’s Upholstery, Hope and Faith Floral and Gift, La Plaza F!esta Mexican Restaurant, American Family Insurance, a dental office and a hair salon.

Although the fire was a terrible disaster, it also displayed the closeness of the community of Madelia. The amount of support that came not only from the community of Madelia, but the entire state, has been overwhelming. Karla Angus of the Madelia Chamber of Commerce told the Plaindealer in 2016, “We will rebuild. We love each other and will help each other to get through.” Throughout the last year the city of Madelia started the monstrous task of rebuilding.
The buildings of the affected businesses may have been gone, but these businesses still had work to do.

Throughout this tragedy the people of Madelia and surrounding communities have banded together in order to rebuild downtown and help those affected by the fire. Businesses were offered temporary sites while they rebuilt, and fundraising efforts raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Slowly, but surely the Madelia downtown is, quite literally, rising from the ashes.

For more information please see the February 2 print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.