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Twin Falls waits for Rondevoo Fire Rebuild

The 2022 fire destroyed half a city block on Main Ave.
Posted at 10:05 AM, Sep 26, 2023

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — It was a devastating fire that rocked the City of Twin Falls.

On the morning of April 12, 2022, a fire broke out at the Radio Rondevoo Event Center on Main Avenue West. By the end of the day, half of the city block was destroyed. The question remains, what happens next?

Constructed in 1941, the historic building housed six businesses, including the popular ballroom.

As the building was enveloped in flames, over one hundred firefighters from several departments battled the blaze. Local development and real estate agent Alex Castaneda owned the property and said when he was called that morning he knew it was bad.

"You could see the smoke from Jerome," said Castaneda.

Losing the Radio Rondevoo was a big loss for the community, as it had been used for everything from weddings to anniversary parties to community social events. Castaneda comments they had just hosted a high school Junior Prom the Saturday before the fire.

Shawn Bariger, with the city's Urban Renewal Agency, says that even though it was a devastating loss, there may be a silver lining for redevelopment opportunities.

"The city doesn't build office buildings. The Urban Renewal Agency doesn't build apartments," says Bariger. "We create the environment in which private development can be successful doing that."

I asked Castaneda if he, personally, would be involved in a new project, or if he would hand it off to someone else to rebuild.

"I think I'm going to be involved in the project, I think I will be rebuilding," answered Castaneda.

Regarding the exact cause of the fire, the Twin Falls Fire Chief told me that private investigators are now involved. Castaneda says he believes the fire started on the northwest corner of the building and the official cause is still undetermined.

So for now, the Twin Falls community anxiously awaits to learn what will happen to the big empty space on West Main Ave.