Community grieves loss of historic furniture store

Published: Oct. 20, 2019 at 8:02 PM CDT
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An iconic building on Aberdeen’s Main Street was destroyed by a fire Saturday night destroying years of history and displacing families in the process.

Aberdeen firefighters worked throughout the night containing the fire the best they could.

Sunday morning Aberdeen's Main Street was surrounded by caution tape blocking off the entire area after the colossal fire. What was once Malchow's Home Furnishings has the community crushed.

"For the community, it was really sad to have lost a third-generation business and to have lost a landmark structure. All those people lost homes," Aberdeen Mayor, Travis Schaunaman said.

17 apartments in total above the furniture store are destroyed. All residents rushed to get everyone out of the building before the top floor crumbled.

Malchow's employee Jerry Trefz has worked there for 42 years.

"Basically it was my home. I went through a lot with them and I like to make the homes beautiful and sell beautiful things," Trefz said.

He ended his shift at 5 p.m. living only two blocks away he got the news Malchow's was scorched in flames.

"I was watching the fire Saturday night when all the employees were there," Trefz said.

What was once his home away from home is now a pile of ash. The Malchow family has owned the business since the 1940s. Fire crews worked tirelessly throughout the night to save it.

"Our fire crew did a great job. Our first responders making sure people weren't hurt and making sure that the fire was contained. They worked hard into the night," Schaunaman said.

While everyone waits for the dust to settle many walk onto Main Street to wait in grief.

"I think it really hit me hard. It hit a lot of the people around here," Schaunaman said.

"It’s pretty sad to see this building gone," Trefz said.

No injuries were reported. A prayer service was held Sunday night at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church to bring positive energy to the Malchow's.

(Correction: An early version of this story stated the fire started in the laundry. Investigators say the cause of the fire, including exactly where it started, is still under investigation.)

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