Nearly 30 members of the Oregon and Brooklyn fire departments worked together Tuesday, Aug. 20, to burn down the former Waterfall restaurant.

The scene, near Janesville and Park streets, became a defensive operation training exercise.

Firefighters lit the fire load in the building around 5:30 p.m. and monitored the flames as they came through the roof and fascia. The fire and building were mostly knocked down within an hour that evening, but Oregon Area Fire/EMS District chief Glenn Linzmeier expected the smoke to linger for a few days.

“The wind was in our favor, and everything went well,” Linzmeier said.

Several people in their cars and on bikes watched the destruction between the former restaurant parking lot and the new Sleep Inn hotel. Among them was Dan Bertler, owner of Supreme Structures, who bought the property from the Village of Oregon at 1075 Park St., adjacent to 1053, where the former Waterfall motel was taken down in a similar fire training exercise in November.

Bertler said he’s hoping to combine the two parcels (approximately 3.5 acres) to provide more room for future development on the east side of the village. During a Village Board meeting in July, Bertler listed a few options for what could fit in that space, including a convenience store, a bank, a medical clinic or a restaurant. He said all were real possibilities, as he’s heard interest in businesses wanting to put down roots there.

“Park Street will be redeveloped, and the whole area will be revitalized,” Bertler said Tuesday.

– Samantha Christian