John Badman|The Telegraph A decorated Christmas tree sets on the site of the former McDonald's restaurant at the corner of Ridge Street and East Broadway in Alton. The building may be gone, following a devastating June fire, but the spirit of Christmas still remains. Owner Dick Bold has vowed to rebuild the store.
ALTON — A decorated Christmas tree has been erected on the site of the former McDonald's restaurant at the corner of Ridge Street and East Broadway in Alton.
The building may be gone following a devastating June fire, but the spirit of Christmas still remains. Owner Dick Bold has vowed to rebuild the store.
On June 17, fire ripped through the restaurant, leaving it a total loss. Alton Fire Chief Jesse Jemison said firefighters arrived at about 5:33 a.m. after people reported smoke coming from the roof of the building at 717 E. Broadway.
No injuries were reported and no one was working or dining at the restaurant when firefighters arrived.
The fire is believed to have started in or near a HVAC unit on the roof of the restaurant. It progressed quickly, battled by firefighters from Alton, Godfrey, East Alton and Florissant, Missouri. When the HVAC unit collapsed partially through the roof, the structure was deemed too dangerous to enter and firefighters set up an exterior attack as flames spread through the attic toward the front of the building.
Heavy smoke was visible for blocks in every direction. Alton Public Works and Alton Police erected barricades and closed streets around the scene to protect fire supply line hoses. A city trackhoe was brought in to knock down walls, left unsafe after the fire was out. The trackhoe also removed the HVAC unit for closer examination.
Flames broke through the restaurant’s roof, causing the McDonald’s sign to fall off the building.
In September, the site was razed and restaurant debris was cleared from the site by S. Shafer Excavating & Demolition in Pontoon Beach.
Bold, who owns both Alton McDonald’s as well as the ones in Godfrey and Bethalto, has said he was saddened by the fire but plans to rebuild.
John Badman is a 1982 graduate of SIU-Carbondale, with a major in cinema and photography and a minor in law enforcement administration of justice. He has worked at The Telegraph in Alton full-time for 39 years and has been named the National Press Photographers Association's Region-5 Photographer of the Year six times.