Monday, September 15, 2014


Sandy Polk turns way from the scene of a fire at the Lifeline Youth For Christ building on Sept. 23, 2012. The blaze started in a building at 615 East St. behind the Irv Polk Center and spread to another apartment building. Three people were transported to a burn unit in Fort Wayne. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) (AP)

The clean up of the Lifeline building is starting Sept. 24, 2012, after a fire that burned through the roof of the building. Frontier Communications crews were on scene working Monday morning. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Bricks and other rubble from the property next to the Lifeline Youth For Christ building are seen Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. Three buildings on Elkhart’s near east side burned in the early morning blaze Sunday. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Darrell Peterson (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)
Lifeline building to be demolished
Posted on April 23, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 23, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.

ELKHART — Six months after a fire destroyed much of the Lifeline Youth for Christ building in downtown Elkhart, the charred walls are coming down.

Demolition on the building is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 24, said Darrell Peterson, Lifeline’s executive director.

Peterson said the building’s gymnasium suffered only water damage and is structurally sound. It’s the only part of the building that won’t be demolished.

“There’s a decent amount of work there, but it’s worth salvaging,” he said.

On Sept. 23, 2012, the old Tony’s Shoe Shop building, 165 East St., behind the Lifeline building, caught fire around 2 a.m. The blaze spread to the Lifeline building and an apartment building on the other side.

Elkhart Fire Investigator Kent Stouder said he was unable to determine the cause of the fire.

Peterson said Lifeline may not rebuild on the same lot, and the organization is looking at several locations in downtown Elkhart.

While Lifeline’s programs have been scattered to other facilities in the area since the fire, the organization has grown 25 percent, Peterson said.

“In the grand scheme of things, we’re very thankful for the building we had and very thankful for the things that happened there, but God knew what he was doing when he was burning it down,” Peterson said. “We’ve been inconvenienced for period, but the future is very, very bright.”