After years without a major blaze, downtown El Centro has been torn asunder by two big fires within the last month and a half, blazes that broke out only feet from each other.
What, we must wonder, is going on? Is it merely coincidence, simply bad luck? Is it vandalism? Is it people going into the buildings at night seeking warmth and inadvertently setting the buildings ablaze? Is it something even more nefarious, someone with a unique, rapid and surefire approach to urban renewal?
We don't know all the answers, but we hope to know someday, the sooner the better. When you have two huge fires, one that destroyed The Salvation Army Thrift Store and damaged adjacent businesses and one that gutted the venerable Fox Theatre and ripped through neighboring offices, the community needs answers. We expect those answers from the professionals at the El Centro Fire Department soon.
Thursday morning, the morning after the fire at the Fox, construction workers were continuing efforts on the downtown plaza, which is a major part of the city's downtown revitalization program. Around the workers were the charred remains of the Fox and the adjoining businesses taken down Wednesday night. Just down the block was the devastation from The Salvation Army early in December.