Liz McCormick Published

Harpers Ferry Fire of '15 Still a Mystery, Rebuild in Progress

Harpers Ferry, Harpers Ferry Fire, Fire

Harpers Ferry is moving right-along in its rebuilding process since a fire devastated four historic buildings last July.

We last heard on the status of the Harpers Ferry rebuilding process back in December. Now, as we begin approaching summer and the one year mark since the fire, the town is getting closer and closer to being restored.

In December, one of the main building owners, Barbara Pusateri said she hoped to be back and fully operational with businesses and apartments by the end of the summer.

Harpers Ferry Mayor Gregory Vaughn just spoke with Pusateri.

“She informed me that the restoration for her properties are going along very well,” Vaughn said, “and she believes that she may come on-line in late summer or early fall. Full restoration.”

Vaughn also says two other property owners hope to be in working order by October or November. Vaughn also notes all the debris in the structures is now gone. Debris-removal began just before Thanksgiving.

“They were very careful in removing all of the burned material; that is all gone, the buildings have been gutted. They are down to studs and floor joist and ceiling joist, and now they are beginning work inside to restore the inside and also with the outside structures.”

West Virginia University’s Extension Service has been working with Harpers Ferry since September. They provided contractors and other experts to look over the damage and consider future projects to beautify the town.

Vaughn says the Extension Service has also helped the town apply for a grant this past March.

“It would be restoration and beautification of the main tourist corridor along High Street. High Street is one of the principle and historic streets in Harpers Ferry, and there’s quite a bit of work that could be done there to make the experience of our visitors even better than what it is, and that’s what we are attempting to achieve with this grant.”

High Street is home to two of the buildings caught in the July fire, including Pusateri’s.

At this time, Vaughn says the cause of the fire is still undetermined.