December 8, 1977 Fire: $1,000,000 Loss Claimed in Fire
-Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, December 9, 1977 - © Ogden Newspapers; reproduced with permission.
$1,000,000 Loss Claimed in Fire
By JUDI TAROWSKY, The Intelligencer Staff
The owner of the Red Bull Lounge at 41 12th St., Wheeling, Wheeling, said he believes his firm suffered between $150,000-$200,000 damage in a pre-dawn blaze Thursday that gutted the building housing the Red Bull and three other businesses on the northwest corner of the 12th Market Street intersection.
Mark Cuiksa of St. Clairsville told The Intelligencer he bought the lounge Nov. 18 and had closed it since last Saturday for remodeling. The bar was closed Wednesday night and there was no one working inside, he said.
Wheeling firefighters found the Red Bull engulfed in flames when they responded to the alarm at 4: 15 a.m. The fire was first reported by an employee of the 12th Street parking garage. Flames were issuing from the door of the club when firefighters arrived at the scene, Fire Chief Cliff Sligar said.
Sligar said total damage of the blaze could not be estimated now but Dewey Satterfield, executive vice president of the Downtown Wheeling Associates, said damages could reach the $1 million level.
The fire chief said it is believed the fire originated in the Red Bull because all the fire was in the basement level lounge when the fire was reported. Although the cause of the fire has not been determined, Sligar said arson is not ruled out.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze began while a giant crance belonging to Jarvis, Downing and Emch, assisted by equipment from Power City, dug into the hot debris of the building so firefighters could extinguish the stubborn flames smoldering beneath.
Sligar said the flames in the Red Bull climbed the walls to the rest of the building but firefighters were unable to reach the flames with hose stream because much of the exterior of the brick building was faced with metal sheeting.
The building was of the type termed ordinary construction, meaning the brick walls bore the brunt of the weight but the interior was constructed of wood.
George Petroplus of Security National Bank is the agent for the owner of the building. Cuiksa purchased the lounge from Claude Macri and Petroplus said the lease was in the process of being transferred to the new owner. Cuiksa owns the Busy Bee Construction Co. and Ohio Valley Hauling.
There were no serious injuries caused by the fire, but two firefighters were reported treated for cold-related injuries.
Other businesses destroyed were the Joysweet Shop at 1171 Market St. (formerly Loft's); Your Fathers Mustache at 1167 Market St. and Revco Optical at 1165 Market St.