Roads open again around Vinton businesses destroyed by fire

Smoke seeps through debris at the former site of Michael & Dowd (102 East Fourth Street in Vinton) on Monday, February 12.

Traffic now travels like it used to along East Fourth Street and First Avenue in Vinton like it did before Thursday night - but the landscape of the downtown area will never be traveled the same.

The roads along the site of a massive fire in the small-town Iowa community were re-opened on Monday after three businesses were destroyed by the blaze. Clean-up efforts continued well into Sunday - after the fire initially started around 7:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Karilea Ries - who owns Cameron Clothing just across the street from the businesses - has seen the outpouring of support as the first steps to recovery are being taken.

"Customers have been amazing," she said Monday morning. "A lot of support I've seen on Facebook and the memories of shopping from people that have moved away. It'll be slow but sure - and that's the beauty of a small town: we're all here for each other."

Investigators are continuing to look for the cause of the fire. Small fires that are still burning in the basement of the structures are hampering those initial investigations.

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