Historic-House Fire the Work of "Serial Arsonists"?
|The circa 1909 Leighton G. Knipe House, post-fire.|
For the past decade, the artist, business/gallery owner, and advocate for historical preservation has made a habit out of repurposing old and run-down buildings into usable spaces. One place on his list for a while was the Leighton G. Knipe House, a 101-year-old downtown Phoenix home that the Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition recently named as one of its 12 most endangered historical properties.
Now a rehab is mission impossible, thanks to a fire this week that destroyed a large chunk of the house. As of press time, the cause of the fire, which started at 2:02 a.m. Wednesday, was still under investigation, according to the Phoenix Fire Department's Fire Investigations.
Rainey thinks the blaze was anything but a random act. "I think there are serial arsonists in town," he says.
|A side view of the Knipe House, which caught fire early Wednesday morning.|
Records show that the circa 1909 home, located at 1025 North Second Street, was originally occupied by a structural engineer and architect called Knipe. At the time, the home was considered a beacon in an area once considered the outskirts of Phoenix.
It's been a long time since the 1,200-square-foot house saw a glimpse of those glory days.
|A pre-fire shot of the Leighton G. Knipe House.|
In the end, Rainey is more than bummed that another irretrievable piece of Phoenix's short history went bye-bye overnight. "I'm a third-generation Arizonan, so [the fire] really, no pun intended, burns me, because the historical equity in Phoenix is so slim as it is.
"Once it's gone, it's gone."
|A back view of the torched structure.|