Posted: Feb 28, 2013 6:02 PM by Katy Harris KXLF News
Updated: Mar 1, 2013 4:50 PM
UPDATE: After receiving calls from many of our viewers and consulting the Butte archives, we need to correct a few details of this story.
The JC Penney department store did not stand where the Phoenix Building is now, but rather to the northwest across Park Street where a parking lot is today. Instead, a store named Burr's was built in that location. According to volunteers at the archives, the fire in fact spread eastward and did not jump Park Street.
BUTTE- 41 years ago today, one of Butte's most popular department stores caught on fire, and spread to nearby buildings for a net loss of 4 to 5 million dollars.
The JC Penney fire completely took out the store and 11 other businesses.
It's estimated that JC Penney lost 1.5 million dollars in losses.
The cause of the fire was believed to be arson and no arrests were ever made.
Marissa Newman remembers the fire because her niece was born the next day. She says, "It was huge, I mean I remember so many people had gone up to look and it was so devastating because it was our department store."
Newman would go to JC Penney and buy shoes from Mr. Russel the salesman in the 1960's.