‘We’ll rebuild’: Blaze destroys Weil’s Arcade in Hillsboro

Washington County

4-alarm blaze destroyed Weil Arcade building in downtown Hillsboro

HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — The 4-alarm fire that destroyed the historic Weil’s Arcade Building on Main Street in Hillsboro continues to flare more than 40 hours after it began.

Part of the reason for the flare-ups is because the roof collapsed into the building. There is a basement in the century-old building and a lot of heat is trapped under the debris.

Hillsboro Fire & Rescue crews continue to monitor the site around-the-clock. PGE has been at the site checking power lines and energizing the lines that are safe.

There were at least 8 businesses in the Weil Arcade building, including a jiu-jitsu gym, a real estate agency and a dress shop.

An on-duty police officer spotted the flames coming out of the building around 2:45 a.m. Sunday. Agencies from around the region came to help battle the blaze, with 90 firefighters at the scene at its peak.

A 4-alarm fire that destroyed the historic Weil’s Arcade Building on Main Street in Hillsboro. Hot spots continued to flare, January 3, 2022 (KOIN)
Kathy Schmidlkofer, the manager at the Hillsboro Pharmacy, said the downtown Hillsboro area will rebuild after a 4-alarm blaze ripped through the Weil Arcade building, January 3, 2022 (KOIN)

Kathy Schmidlkofer, the manager at the Hillsboro Pharmacy, said they actually managed to salvage some items in the store — including the ice cream.

She told KOIN 6 News the area is more vibrant that it was when she started decades ago and she doesn’t expect the fire to change that.

“I’ve been here a long time. I’ve seen a lot of changes in this downtown and it’s really a lot more active and vibrant than when I started here, for sure,” she said. “So I know it’s going to rebuild. It’s going to take time but I think we’ll rebuild it. We’ll be stronger going forward.”

Richard Samson, who owns Samson’s Tattoo Collective a few doors down, said his friend remembers walking through the Weil Arcade as a kid. But now it’s “just gone. Gone.”

A Hillsboro firefighter sprays water on hot spots at the Weil Arcade building, January 3, 2022 (KOIN)

He said his business “got lucky,” but “you could feel and smell the smoke in here.”

Samson said they have power back in their shop but when the power was shut off on Sunday he was worried about his snakes getting too cold.

“I was concerned about them,” he said. “I kept coming back throughout the night.”

Some of the roads in the immediate vicinity have been re-opened but officials want onlookers to stay behind the fence.

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