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Fire damages historic office building in Decatur

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Fire damages historic office building in Decatur

The Blair Building suffered an unspecified amount of damage on Oct. 30 following a fire. A reporter saw burn marks and a boarded up window from the street when they visited the site on Nov. 1. Photo by Zoe Seiler

This story has been updated. 

By Dan Whisenhunt and Zoe Seiler

Decatur, GA — An Oct. 30 fire did an unspecified amount of damage to a historic office building in downtown Decatur.

The Decatur Fire Department reports no one was injured by the fire at The Blair Building, a pink-painted structure located at 215 Church Street behind Twain’s restaurant. When a reporter visited on Nov. 1, they observed smoke damage on the side of the building and a boarded-up window.

On Monday, October 30, 2023, Decatur Fire responded to a reported structure fire at 215 Church Street,” Decatur Fire Chief Toni Washington said. “Upon arrival, moderate smoke was visible from the first-floor window. The fire was confined to the point of origin and extinguished upon arrival.  There were no occupants in the building, no injuries, and the fire is under investigation.”

Gene Kansas, the building owner, told Decaturish via email, “There was a small fire early in the morning on the 30th, and we’re grateful no one was hurt.  The fire department did a great job. We will be making repairs and will have a better understanding of our timeline in the upcoming month.”

In a follow-up email, Kansas said, “We hope to have the building fully reopened soon for our occupants.”

He said he would not comment further because the incident is under investigation.

It’s unclear whether any of the tenants were displaced. Decaturish.com filed an open records request with the city of Decatur seeking more information about what happened.

The Blair Building was constructed in 1939 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building spans 12,500 square feet and two floors. It has been an office building for over 80 years and all the offices have been leased to a variety of companies. According to the Blair Building website, the building is a “stunning example of Streamline Moderne architecture and one of only two buildings of its kind in the city.”

In 2022, Gene Kansas Commercial Real Estate announced a modernization and renovation project for the building. Kansas purchased The Blair in 2021.

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