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'We're in shock': East Village laments Hodges fire amid aftermath response

The building at the northwest corner of Third Street and Lansing Avenue in downtown Tulsa is seen following a fire Saturday night.
Max Bryan
The building at the northwest corner of Third Street and Lansing Avenue in downtown Tulsa is seen following a fire Saturday night.

East Village residents are lamenting the loss of a prominent bar and adjoining spaces in the neighborhood as investigators probe a fire that tore through the building on Saturday evening.

According the Tulsa Fire Department, a four-alarm fire at Hodges Bend on Saturday evening gutted the bar and Lowood Restaurant and adjacent apartments. TFD Public Information Officer Andy Little believes the fire began inside the bar and spread.

Little said the fire was difficult to fight because of features in the building like empty space between floors and a tin ceiling. In total, 18 fire trucks and about 60 firefighters responded, including some who were off-duty.

Marshals had not yet identified the cause of the fire Monday, Little said.

Janet Fadler Davie, who owns Artist Loft, said the fire didn't appear as bad as it was until a few hours into the response.

"Flames were shooting out of the roof and by that chimney right there. The flames could not be extinguished... They were fighting a battle for sure," she said.

The entire northwest corner of Third and Lansing was blocked off Monday as engineers tested the structure of the building. Little said a ladder truck went to the scene so crews could check for hot spots.

What’s left of Hodges Bend and the upstairs apartment units is a brick facade hollowed out from the fire. Davie and others walked the perimeter of the structure Monday morning and cleaned up the area where they could.

Amy Johnson McMillin, who owns Bohemian Pizza across the street, said everyone is having a hard time thinking about anything too far into the future.

"We’re in shock here," McMillin said. "We’re not thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m going to clean the soot and all of the black and everything and just wait to see."

"This is my neighborhood — I call it 'the hood' — and it’s a tragic loss for our neighbors, Hodges Bend and Lowood and the people who lived upstairs at the apartment," Davie said. "But we are banding together — love our neighbors, and I’m here to support and help."

Davie hopes the building can be saved. But Little believes the building is a "total loss" — that is, the cost to rebuild and repair exceeds the cost of the building itself.

“Does that mean things can’t be salvaged? No. Does that mean the brick can’t be used? No. But it’s a dollars and cents situation," Little said.

Visit here to donate to Hodges Bend and Lowood employees who have lost their jobs from the fire.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.