A fire destroys historic landmark hours after The Brick Wall Bar and Grill finished its opening day

PALOUSE, WA - Tragedy struck the small town of Palouse early Tuesday morning when a downtown landmark burned to the ground.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin tells us what happened, and why the community is mourning the loss of The Brick Wall Bar and Grill.

"It's going to be a big blow for the community," said Palouse Fire Chief Mike Baggott.

Firefighters from Palouse, Colfax, Pullman, and Whitman County Rural Fire District Twelve spent Tuesday morning extinguishing a fire in downtown Palouse.

"At this point, there's nothing left of this building," said Baggott.

Palouse Fire Chief Mike Baggott said when they arrived on the scene at about 4:00 a.m., all they could see was smoke.

"When my crew reached the second floor, they found that heat and smoke conditions were extremely hot and smoke almost all the way to the floor, and they pulled out immediately," said Baggott.

He said minutes later, the entire building was up in flames.

"At that point, the fire became strictly defensive in nature," said Baggott.

Firefighters said that for a while, they were concerned with the entire block burning down. But luckily, they were able to contain the fire to the single building, with minimal damage to the neighboring business.

"The sad thing with this is that a business just opened in that building last night," said Baggott. "A gentleman here in town had purchased the building and refurbished the old tavern into a family bar and grill."

Palouse residents say the building was a historic landmark on Main Street.

"I'm so used to seeing it every day, like running down to the store," said Palouse Resident Trapper Akins.

"It's been here forever, I mean as long as I can remember," said Palouse Resident Kaila Martin. "And they put a lot of hard work into opening the new restaurant that was going to be there."

It's a devastating loss for the town, but it gave the people of Palouse a chance to show their strength as a community.

"The outpouring from people around town As you look around, it's amazing," said Baggott.

"We're passing out food, water, drinks," said Palouse Resident Cassie Martin. "Anything that they need, we go get. Just came out, got dressed, came straight down here, we didn't even think. We were just like, 'We need to just go help."'

Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire and assessing the damage. We'll continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.