Historic building in Hastings damaged by fire

- An early morning fire damaged a historic home in Hastings Thursday. Firefighters spent most of the day in the cold, battling flare-ups and hot spots. 

“This is the hospital I was born in, in those rooms upstairs. I was born during the Armistice Day Blizzard,” said neighbor John Hildebrandt. 

The Thorwood mansion was built in 1880. The 10-thousand square foot home once served as a hospital. 

“That day, when we were born in 1940, was so intense, that my father lived three blocks away and couldn't get to the hospital,” Hildebrandt said. “All phone lines were down. So we were in the upper rooms and I was alongside another baby.”

The home was also once a bed & breakfast and is now to luxury condos up for rent.

“There's major damaged to the building. It's a brick, wood frame, wood timber construction,” said Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt. “There have been some additions on it over the years, so there are a lot of concealed spaces. Where some of the roof that has collapsed, it creates some pancaking areas. So we have smoldering fires within the walls.”

A neighbor saw the flames shooting from the roof just after 5 o’clock Thursday morning. That call to 911 got the two people who were home out safely. They are now staying with family. 

“The owner is a wonderful man and he's entertained a lot of people through the years, and I just hope the building isn't lost because it's a treasure for our community,” Hildebrandt said. 

Because of the cold temperatures, the Hastings Fire Department had to call in extra crews from other departments to rotate and keep the firefighters safe and warm. 

“We did have some open walls and open ceilings from one floor to the other, which obviously did play a factor in the fire's spread and then also trying to extinguish the fire at the same time,” Schutt said. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

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