Fires like the one that destroyed a historic building in downtown De Pere are always a risk to similar structures in Sturgeon Bay, Kewaunee and Algoma. They were built close together and the later installation of hanging ceilings increased the risk of flames spreading through the roofs and into neighboring buildings. Unlike newer constructions, the historic buildings were constructed well before current fire codes were enacted. So they're not required to have firewalls in the attics. The Algoma Fire Department and owners of the city's historic buildings, however, work together in other ways. Inspections show fire fighters the buildings' floor plans, the locations of utility switches and valves, and offer building owners tips on fire prevention. Fire Chief Tom Ackerman says some owners are taking the lead in reducing the risk of ceiling fires.
Chief Ackerman says many of the historic buildings have brick walls that help contain flames. He also encourages the building's owners to consider adding firewalls when they're remodeling.