The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Efforts to open Aurora Street on hold


March 2, 2018

Submitted photo

EMPLOYEES OF Fahrner Excavating of Ironwood work from a machine to knock down part the remains of last week's fatal fire at 102-104 E. Aurora St. in downtown Ironwood Thursday morning. The photo was provided by Ironwood City Assessor Dennis Hewitt.


Ironwood - Work to open Aurora Street to traffic in front of last week's fatal fire in downtown Ironwood was halted Thursday morning as the contractor and city officials learned they'd have to wait until state-mandated tests of material samples from the burned buildings come back from a laboratory.

The early morning fire of Feb. 21 killed three people and heavily damaged two buildings at 102-104 Aurora St. The 102 address included Chelsi's Corner boutique on the street level and two floors of apartments above.

An Ironwood Public Safety Department spokesman said Thursday the fire remains under investigation.

An official with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and city officials were on-site Thursday morning as a worker with Fahrner Excavating of Ironwood knocked down some of the remaining walls.

Ironwood City Manager Scott Erickson said the plan was to make the area safe from the possibility of falling debris and open the street, but the official from MIOSHA put a halt to that Thursday.

"We're on hold for the moment. There were some samples taken for environmental testings, essentially asbestos testing (Wednesday), and those are being sent in," said Erickson, adding he was hoping for a 24-hour turnaround on those, but said it could be "a day or two or later."

Erickson said the individual from MIOSHA filled the contractor and city officials "in on the process, so we're all on the same page and make sure it's done properly and correctly."

Erickson hopes the project will move ahead soon.

"The first stage will be, once all the testing comes back, assuming they can move forward without doing any additional testing, they'll make the building safe by knocking the top walls in into the building, making a pile of rubble in the building, basically," he said. "And the second phase will be to bring a contractor in and do the actual removal of all the rubble."

Erickson said while they were hoping to open the street Thursday, it's a matter of safety. "Ultimately, everybody wants to do it correctly, properly, so there's no issues and we have a safe site here. Hopefully this won't slow things down too much, and we can keep on moving forward as quickly as possible."

First Friday

City officials and area businesses will host another First Friday event today. The theme of this month's edition of the downtown business promotion is "Craft Your North."

Events are planned in various downtown businesses from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

There will be a craft and farmers market at the Ironwood Theatre.

The Olde Suffolk Ale House is hosting a release party for a new craft beer produced by a collaboration of Stormy Kromer and the Ore Dock Brewing Company of Marquette. The Six Pointer Munich Dunkel is "a dark and drinkable lager brewed with the finest German Munich malts and the noble hop variety of Czech Saaz," according to a spokesman.

Cold Iron Brewing is also hosting a party for the release of its Contrast Coffee Stout craft beer.

Other businesses will be open later than usual.

A $100 raffle is planned.

For more information, visit


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