HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — An emergency meeting in Harpers Ferry has set the pace for recovery from last week’s devastating fire that damaged historic buildings and closed nine businesses.
Harpers Ferry Mayor Gregory Vaughn called the meeting Saturday to establish a framework for the rebuilding efforts. The reaction shouldn’t be delayed, Vaughn said.
“I believe it’s around 42 percent of our commercial businesses are devastated and are nonfunctional,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn has assembled an emergency management team consisting of the Harpers Ferry Town Council, planning commission, board of zoning appeals and historic landmarks commission. Members of those groups attended Saturday’s meeting and everyone is ready to participate, Vaughn said.
“We’ve got numerous subgroups set up. We’ll be meeting with state and local and federal officials this week.”
A meeting with one of those subgroups and the affected businesses set for Monday afternoon should yield a short term plan for impacted businesses, Vaughn said.
“[We’re going to] look into some possibilities for relocating temporarily. Hopefully close by within the commercial district.”
Partners could include the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park as a possible site for short-term relocation.
Chief Historian for the park Dennis Frye said on Monday’s MetroNews ‘TalkLine’ the park itself was not touched by the fire, but there is certainly an impact.
“You don’t come to Harpers Ferry expecting to see burned buildings and displaced businesses,” Frye said.
The town and park could negotiate a potential agreement this week.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office is continuing its investigation into what started the fire. Vaughn said he hopes to learn a cause later this week.