Pine Top Lodge Fire
An arson fire touched off more than just a motel on the night of December 8, 2011. Before a year had passed law enforcement officials in two states had broken a theft and arson ring which had taken more than $1 million worth of stolen items. Two area men were arrested in the arson portion of the case.
The fire department was dispatched to the Pine Top Lodge at 2035 East Van Buren Avenue at 2:55 A.M. Firefighters arrived in the early morning hours to find a three story motel burning fiercely and spreading to all three floors of the adjacent 1876 Hotel. Fortunately, a fire hydrant in front of the 1876 Hotel provided a ready source of water. The fire was attacked with with hoses from several engines and a ladder truck. Holiday Island, Grassy Knob, and Berryville sent additional manpower and equipment.
The fire was declared contained about 6:30 in the morning. As the cold sun rose the weary firefighters began to extinguish smoldering rooms and hotspots. Firefighters remained on scene for the almost 24 hours looking for more embers. A conservative estimate put the damage to the Pine Top Lodge at $750,000. It was later demolished. The quick action of the first arriving firefighters saved the 1876 Hotel with only minor damage resulting.