Old Fort back in business after fire

A fire destroyed the Blacksmith building at the Old Fort.
A fire destroyed the Blacksmith building at the Old Fort.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s been less than a week since a fire broke out at the Blacksmith Building at the Old Fort. Now, Historic Fort Wayne leaders are in the process of rebuilding the Fort Wayne staple and are even hosting an event at the Old Fort this weekend.

“It’s difficult to lose a building like that just because everyone has put so much time and energy into bringing the Fort back alive,” Chris Miller, who volunteers with Historic Fort Wayne, said.

People gathered at the Old Fort Saturday morning from across the Midwest for an Imperial event. Many were surprised and saddened to hear the news of the fire.

“It’s tragic because a Blacksmith shop is part of every Fort,” said volunteer, Max Burkheart. “They would have had a Blacksmith to repair wagons, muskets, canons…It adds to the Fort not only that but because it adds to the education of the public of what a blacksmith really did.”

However, volunteers aren’t letting the fire stop them from enjoying all the Old Fort has to offer. Volunteers are hosting a training throughout the weekend, and next weekend, there will be a War of 1812 event. As for the fire, there are still a few more investigations that need to be completed. Then the Historic Fort Wayne Board of Directors will make a decision to either fix up the standing building or have it torn down and reconstructed. There were no people hurt in the fire, but there was about $3,000 to $4,000 worth of damage to antique tools. Leaders with Historic Fort Wayne said they are planning fundraisers in an effort to rebuild. However, in the meantime, people are remaining optimistic and looking for possible back ups. A volunteer said they are considering having a blacksmith who can bring a mobile forge.

Fort Wayne Fire Department officials said the cause is still under investigation.

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