Keota Looks to the Future After Saturday Fire

By Mark Geary, Reporter

KEOTA – The town of Keota is trying to move forward after Saturday morning's fire destroyed multiple key businesses in the downtown.

Firefighters are still trying to figure out exactly what sparked the fire and if it was set intentionally. Investigators say the fire may have started in a storage unit.

A string of Keota businesses were still smoldering more than 48 hours after fire reduced them to rubble.

"They said it will probably smolder like this for two or three more days unless we can get in there and start breaking some stuff up," Bill Miller said.

Miller owns two buildings on the main stretch of road through town. One building housed a storage facility and a fitness center, but now only charred reminders of those businesses remain.

"It's just great to live in a small town. It makes you feel better, but looking at the smoldering rubble in mind-numbing," Miller said.

The other business he owns — an auto shop — survived the flames. The attached law office also escaped any major damage.

"Most of my computer files I've got on my laptop. I keep it with me and take it home from the office," Attorney Scott Flynn said.

Flynn is also a city council member. He says losing so many businesses in a small town like Keota is devastating.

"We're going to have to look at what we can do to help people rebuild and perhaps even attract some new businesses into town," Flynn said.

Miller wants to rebuild, but says everything will depend on his financial situation.

Crews will start removing some of that debris by the end of this week or early next week.
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