Published February 01, 2008 04:14 am -
HUGE FIRE AT CONNEAUT LAKE PARK
At 3:30 a.m. it was reported that a large fire was being fought in the heart of Conneaut Lake Park, 115-year-old amusement park on the north end of Conneaut Lake. Eight to 10 fire companies were on the scene.
The top floor of Dreamland Ballroom had collapsed, and at least half of the block-long midway on that side of the park's main walkway appeared to be destroyed. At 5 a.m., the fire was still being actively fought, a Tribune photographer at the scene said.
The midway is a row of connected, century-old, wood-frame structures that house many of the park's games and food stands. Behind the midway facades are important storage areas for rides, as well as repair shops where amusement-ride cars are fixed, maintained and stored.
More details will be posted at this site as they become available.
Tribune news staff were still on the scene as of 6 a.m.
Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:33 PM
Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:34 PM
Published February 01, 2008 10:31 am -
PSP fire marshal investigating Conneaut Lake Park fire
Feb. 1, 2008 —
The fire that destroyed Conneaut Lake Park’s historic Dreamland Ballroom this morning is under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal’s Office.
The fire at the 115-year-old amusement park was discovered about 2 a.m. by emergency medical technicians en route back to Conneaut Lake from a car accident at Conneautville, according to George Deshner, the park’s general manager.
More than a dozen fire departments from the area were called to battle the blaze.
He said the initial call indicated the fire was at Hotel Conneaut, but that turned out not to be true.
The fire spread from Dreamland Ballroom and the maintenance building down one side of the amusement park’s midway, stopping at the Skee Ball stand, Deshner said. He said the Skee Ball stand will be demolished today.
The midway is made up of two rows of connected, more than century-old, wood-frame structures that house many of the park's games and food stands. Inside the back of the midway facades that burned are important storage areas for rides, as well as repair shops where amusement-ride cars are fixed, maintained and stored.
Jack Moyers, chairman of the board of trustees which oversees the park operations, said there was no fire insurance on those buildings.
Deshner said the loss included maintenance equipment, parts, some ride motors, food service equipment and other materials.
Moyers praised the work of the fire departments who battled the breeze in freezing rain.
Posted 01 February 2008 - 01:53 PM
Conneaut Lake Park’s Dreamland Ballroom destroyed in fire (VIDEO)
Published: February 01. 2008 6:00AM
Watch our video
CONNEAUT LAKE — Firefighters continue to pour water on the burning remnants of a nearly century-old section of Conneaut Lake Park that caught fire early this morning.
The Dreamland Ballroom was leveled in a fire that was spotted shortly after 2 a.m.
Firefighters from 16 volunteer departments arrived to find smoke pouring out of the massive structure. They began an initial attack but retreated a short time later after fire quickly spread.
“About 10 to 15 minutes and it was gone. There was nothing we could do,” said Gig King, chief of the Summit Volunteer Fire Department.
The building consisted of a second-floor ballroom and a first-floor maintenance area, storage area and food and game booths.
Park General Manager George Deshner said the maintenance area contained the motors and other components for most of the park’s rides. They were lost in the fire.
The building was not insured, Deshner said.
— Tim Hahn
Go to Saturday’s Erie Times-News for more coverage.
Posted 01 February 2008 - 04:56 PM
Hopefully this doesn't mean the end of the park, but with the building being uninsured and a lot of ride parts lost in the fire, it may be.
Posted 01 February 2008 - 07:23 PM
Conneaut was already a mere shadow of its former self. This is not its first or even second fire.
The park was already approximately $2 million in debt. I fear this is indeed the end.
Posted 01 February 2008 - 10:13 PM
Such a sad ending to this park.
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Posted 05 February 2008 - 12:55 PM
Fire destroys part of Conneaut Lake Park (VIDEO)
BY TIM HAHN
firstname.lastname@example.org [more details]
Published: February 02. 2008 6:00AM
CONNEAUT LAKE -- It was an albatross, really. A faded paint relic of a time when travel was by steam locomotive, and a sleeping room could be had for the coins jingling in one's pocket.
But the Conneaut Lake Park's Dreamland Ballroom, a ridiculously oversized and wheelchair-inaccessible gathering spot that stretched over nearly half of the old amusement park's midway, was still seen as a valuable asset by those working to breathe new life into the troubled resort.
The dream was lost Friday morning, when a smoky fire that quickly grew into a blazing inferno leveled the nearly century-old structure.
Overseers of the 116-year-old park on the western shore of Conneaut Lake said they couldn't begin to guess Friday at the value of what the fire consumed. But everything will be a loss be-cause there was no fire insurance on Dreamland Ballroom, said Jack Moyers, president of Conneaut Lake Park's 13-member board of trustees.
"All of the structures were grossly uninsured even from the onset," Moyers said in a statement Friday morning.
The losses, in addition to the second-floor dancing pavilion, included a half-dozen ground-level food stands, a game arcade, restroom facilities, the park's maintenance complex and a warehouse full of parts and supplies.
The motors that powered most of Conneaut Lake Park's amusement rides were inside the maintenance complex and warehouse, and all were lost, said George Deshner, a park board member who oversaw its day-to-day operations.
Spared by the fire as it burned through the north side of the park's midway were two game stands and the Log Cabin gift shop, which sit west of where the Dreamland Ballroom complex once stood. The gift shop, formerly a restaurant, predates the 1909 ballroom by seven years, according to park history.
Moyers credited the efforts of firefighters from 16 area volunteer departments who spent hours Friday morning battling, and then trying to contain, a fire that witnesses said could be seen for miles around.
The initial fire call came in to the Crawford County 911 center at 2:30 a.m. Friday, an emergency dispatcher said.
John McGlynn, an assistant chief with the Summit Volunteer Fire Department, said a member of the Conneaut Lake Park Volunteer Fire Department who was returning from a call in Conneautville saw smoke coming from the park and called it in.
Deshner said he was awakened Friday morning by an unidentified caller who said that a fire had broken out at the Hotel Conneaut, which is also in the park. He immediately called the county 911 center and learned that there was a fire at the park, but it was in the Dreamland Ballroom, Deshner said.
"I got into Conneaut Lake and as I looked up, the entire sky was lit up," Deshner said. "Flames were shooting several hundred feet in the air."
The first fire companies found little more than heavy smoke coming from the front of the Dreamland Ballroom complex when they arrived. Crews went inside the building to find and douse the fire, but were pulled out minutes later when flames began to quickly consume the ballroom, Summit Fire Chief Gig King said.
"In about 10 minutes, all you saw was a ball of flames shooting through the roof," King said.
The roof of the massive structure collapsed into the ballroom, and the upper floor soon collapsed onto the ground-floor level, leaving behind only twisted pieces of the metal arches that supported the roof.
"It didn't take long to disappear," McGlynn said.
None of the roughly 70 firefighters who worked to put out the fire suffered any injuries, King said.
It will take at least several days to get at a possible cause of the fire, said Trooper Dana Beckwith, a state police fire marshal who was called to the scene to begin an investigation Friday morning.
The building did have some electrical service at the time of the fire, but it was not believed to have been heated, he said.
It is expected to take the park's board of trustees some time to realize what effect Friday's devastating fire will have on their efforts to get Conneaut Lake Park open for 2008.
The board was appointed to oversee the park in summer, a few months after its previous custodian ordered it closed for the 2007 season because of a lack of startup funds and about $2.5 million in unpaid debts.
Board members used some donated funds to open the park's Beach Club restaurant and bar complex for three months. They have since taken steps to reopen the entire resort by asking for proposals from individuals and groups interested in leasing out all or part of park operations.
The offered parts included the Dreamland Ballroom, which was originally built for dancing but was used in recent years for band concerts, banquets and other special events.
Moyers called the loss of the ballroom "more than just structural."
"It was an icon to the park and the entire area," he said. "Many memories were made there, and regardless of what replaces it, it will never be the same Dreamland Ballroom."
Posted 05 February 2008 - 04:10 PM
Edited by FireHawk51560, 05 February 2008 - 04:34 PM.
Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:26 AM
Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:36 PM
Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:58 PM
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