Smith Building Gutted by Fire, Co-op Parking Affected

DSCN3373webDSCN3370webAround midnight on November 1, 2014 the Ashland Fire Department responded to a report of smoke coming from the Smith Building at 720 Main Street West, which is owned by Chequamegon Food Co-op. When they arrived, the firefighters found flames within the building. Knowing that the structure was vacant, they worked to extinguish the fire from outside.

The Co-op purchased the structure in July to make way for an expanded parking lot. While the Co-op had secured a demolition permit, management agreed to delay razing the building to allow interested citizens the opportunity to purchase the structure. The Smart Growth Ashland group was given nine months to explore use options and secure financing. If no buyer could be found by June 1, 2015, then the Smith Building would have been razed.


Fire department officials will investigate the fire to determine its cause. There is no estimate of how long the investigation will take. The fire gutted the building, leaving it structurally unsound. Due to the possibility of collapse, the area surrounding the building will be cordoned off. Parking at the Co-op will be restricted to half of the lot and the MacArthur Avenue entrance will be closed until further notice.

If you have any questions, please contact Meagan Van Beest, marketing and member services manager, at (715) 682-8251 or