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Downtown fire leaves lasting impact on small businesses

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 19:33:05-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — State and local investigators are still determining the cause of a fire that burnt down an event center in downtown Twin Falls.

Over 100 firefighters were called on scene at 7:20 a.m. April 12 to help contain a fire that broke out in the Twin Falls historic downtown district. The building that caught fire was Radio Rondevoo, an event center that caters to the Magic Valley.

Many local businesses in the area had raised concerns after seeing smoke coming from the Twin Falls downtown district. Nate Rioux is the owner and operator of Bullmoose Bicycle and said the fire quickly engulfed the building.

“It went up so quickly. Within an hour, windows were blowing out and 30-foot flames were shooting out of the ceiling. I mean it happened quick,” said Rioux.

Many building in the downtown district were built over 100 years ago. The building Rioux's business is one block away from Radio Rondevoo and was built in 1920. The loss of a local business so close by has given him a new perspective.

“That’s your biggest fear, is my business burning up?Everything that you work so hard for could be lost within hours and its scary and eye opening to see something like that happen just a block away.” said Rioux.

Rioux said he admires many of the historic buildings in downtown and says Radio Rondevoo was a highlight of the district.

“ It's hard to talk in the past tense but Radio rondevoo was beautiful building.If you're a fan of historic buildings, it was one of our crown jewels in this community,” said Rioux.

Radio Rondevoo was built in 1940. During World War II, every Saturday night "Live from the KTFI Ballroom" was produced featuring big band names such as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Lawrence Welk, and other local bands. The building housed a large dance floor and stage downstairs with offices and and a large radio studio upstairs.