Terrible Fire in Downtown Sylva, NC...Photos by Kelly Timco

Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097
Terrible Fire in Downtown Sylva, NC...Saturday, August 16, 2014 ...Kelly Timco Photos
This past Saturday morning started like most others. We had plans to go to downtown Sylva to enjoy the celebration of the NC Cooperative Extension's 100th birthday and to go by our local tailgate market. I put the pot of coffee on the stove and settled in to catch up on Facebook, ActiveRain, emails, etc. I never got past Facebook.
Sylva, NC is a very small town full of independently owned businesses. We all know each other.  The downtown area is less than four blocks long. By 7:00 am, a fire was raging in a restaurant that was closed for renovations. On one side of the old Hooper building is Motion Makers, a 20 something year old high end bike shop and on the other side is a outdoor store.
The entire downtown area was cordoned off, the Farmer's Market and Extension Service celebration canceled, and firefighters from 8 companies were battling the fire. At one point it was reported that up to 5000 gallons per minute of water was being used to douse the fire.
By a very strange coincidence, the Fire Department of the Town of Sylva had orchestrated a day of training downtown to practice in the event there ever was a full blown fire in these two story very old buildings. To say they were prepared is putting it mildly. By late afternoon the fire was contained and three buildings housing several businesses were either destroyed or condemned.
We are extremely fortunate that none of these buildings housed apartments upstairs with humans or pets living in them. No lives were lost and as far as I know, no firefighters were injured. We might be small town but we have incredible emergency personnel.
My friend Kelly Timco took these photos of the fire taking place. The devastation is unbelievable and according to reports in the local paper, Jackson County had just hired an individual who's sole purpose will be to inspect our buildings in this county to make sure they do not pose an increased risk for fire or impediment to the firefighters. It appears that there was obstruction to the firefighters because debris was blocking some of the access to the areas that they needed to be able to enter the buildings.
Sylva on Fire 1
Sylva on Fire 2
Sylva on Fire 3
Sylva on Fire 4


Sylva on Fire 5
Sylva on Fire 6
Sylva After the Fire
It is very sad to think that these almost 100 year old buildings will be torn down but this could have been so much worse. Thank you Kelly for allowing me to post your photos.
Keep good thoughts for the Town of Sylva as they rebuild this major portion of our downtown area.
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Comments (11)

Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mona and I am so very sorry about the devastation that this fire caused. The only good news is that no lives were lost. 

Aug 18, 2014 11:28 PM
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Specialist - Agent

That fire looks awful. It's heartbreaking to know that those buildings are going to vanish.  

Aug 18, 2014 11:32 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Good Morning Mona,  Wow glad they had that extra training in.  Fires then move so fast, I am glad the 8 companies could get there to save most the town. 

Aug 18, 2014 11:38 PM
Angela Griffith
Downing Frye Realty, Inc. - Bonita Springs, FL

Oh, that's just terrible to see.  Fortunately, there was no loss of life.  Sad to see the buildings go.

Aug 18, 2014 11:39 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

    Mona, I graduated from Brevard High School.   My family has a vacation house in Highlands.  I am quite familiar with Sylva; I can picture these very buildings.  This is truly heart-breaking. 

     I hope for a quick restoration.  I salute your Fire Department and other heroes who came to the rescue in Sylva, North Carolina. 

Aug 18, 2014 11:41 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Fire . . . bad!  

I just read another post of a fire in Tammy Lankford's area.  It's very sad when the old buildings catch on fire.

Aug 19, 2014 09:14 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

That's so sad.  I see Carla just told you we had a fire... it was the county Courthouse in Hancock County which is one of the three counties that border my lake. I blogged about it recently.

Aug 19, 2014 11:48 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Mona, sad to hear about a loss of these old buildings. Luckily nobody was hurt! Enjoy your day!

Aug 19, 2014 09:03 PM
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Good news everyone, the inspecting engineer has declared that the buildings are not a total loss.  The firewalls need to be replaced and of course the guts of the buildings but the front and back walls are okay.

Aug 26, 2014 09:49 PM
Michael W. Fordham

WOW! I grew up in Sylva and it is sad to see this. I miss the small town atmosphere but I know Sylva will not only recover from this, but it will thrive as it moves forward.

Jan 21, 2015 03:41 PM

My mother and sister lived here for many years and I visited in 1996. I loved Sylva and I am so glad that the buildings can be repaired. Thank you for making us aware and we're going to be visiting very soon.

Dec 27, 2015 01:23 PM