Tuesday, April 14, 2009
April 18 th 1979, The night of the FIRE at Elmwood Plaza
The day the mall burned.
April 18th 2006 was the 27th anniversary of a day I will always remember. It was the day my mall burned. I was a teenager and like all teens, going to the mall known as Elmwood Plaza was the center of my life at that time. Since it had been built in 1957, Elmwood Plaza was old and a little rundown. It had two department stores which were J. C. Penney and Goldblatts. It was the Goldblatts that would be ravaged by the fire. It was during Easter break and I had spent the whole day there with my friend Jim. We started with lunch at Burger King and later walked around the plaza all afternoon and ended our day at the Zayre across the street. Then we went home for dinner. We couldn't have been gone for more than a hour when the tragedy struck. The fire started in the Goldblatts beauty salon and spread through the first floor of the store. My family had dinner at Denneys and later on that evening as we were heading home, we saw fire trucks racing to a fire. my father was working a part time job at that time and wood drop us off at home we were settling in for the evening of watching tv when dad called and said ther had to be a big fire on our side of town because the fire trucks were coming from the north side . With that information, I got on my bike and started looking to see if I could find the fire and was very shocked to see it was Goldblatts. I still can feel the chill in my back as I stood there and watched that big black smoke cloud rise from the store. It would be November before things were back to normal there and we would be once again able to shop at Goldblatts. Unfortunately, the store would close two years later because Goldblatts had gone bakrupt. The building that once housed Goldblatts would sit empty for almost 20 years until a supermarket would take it's place. Most of the other stores would close or move to the bigger and newer Regency Mall down the street. The old plaza has been redone and is now more of a neighberhood center with the supermarket as its main store.