The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


May 5, 2014

Worcester rebounded from devastating 1994 fire

While speaking with Worcester Fire Department Chief Jim Empie in 2012, upon marking the department’s 125th anniversary, he readily agreed that likely the most historic and largest fire in Worcester’s history took place 20 years ago this week.

Fire broke out late Monday night, May 2, 1994 at what was then the vacant Village Inn, one of a few wooden structures joined together on the south side of Main Street, dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The fire destroyed the Village Inn and Wheeler’s Pharmacy, next door at 90 Main St., and caused heavy damage to the Worcester Historical Society and Country Boy Realty, at 96 Main St.

Then-Fire Chief Rudolph Gorsch said at the time, it was the largest fire in Worcester in the past 35 years. No one was in the cluster of buildings at the time and in the battle two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

It was indeed a big fire, as more than 200 firefighters from as far away as Sidney battled the blaze from around midnight Monday and into the early morning hours. Residents across the street from the fire were evacuated.

Audrey and Gerald Wheeler had been in business for the last 41 years at Wheeler’s Pharmacy.

“I assume we’ll close,” Audrey Wheeler told The Daily Star the next day. “It’s hard to start over after 41 years. I didn’t think this was in the cards for us.” The Wheelers had been looking forward to selling the store so they could retire soon.

Although the Worcester Historical Society was able to salvage a majority of their historic items, the fire was quite hard to take, as the society had recently finished refurbishing the bottom floor and putting a new roof on the building they owned.

“I was out there watching all night long,” said Marilyn Dufresne, then the vice president of the society. “I was thinking about all the hard work of people who formed the society. A lot of communities didn’t have a beautiful museum like this.”

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson
Rick Brockway

Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service

Do you plan to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction?

Not sure
     View Results