Watson Street Fire Anniversary This Week

It was a year ago Thursday that Ripon residents were awoken by the sound of sirens for a huge fire in the 300 block of Watson Street. The blaze ended up destroying two buildings and damaging two more. Ripon Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Mansmith says it was a tough couple of days, but the community responded taking donations to the chamber office. Eventually Traded Treasures and the Ripon Food Pantry took over handling donations and the Watson Street Recovery Group formed. No one was injured or killed in the fire. Mansmith says it was a tough Christmas for some and a section of Watson Street was closed for several months, which did impact downtown retailers. At least 15 fire departments responded to the fire. Fond du Lac Fire Department photo.