The Vault, Hot Springs businesses rising through the ashes

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. — On a cold night in February, four businesses in Hot Springs were destroyed by a fire.

Almost four months later, some of the businesses are in the process of being re-built.

China Buffet, Gus’ Best Ice Cream, the HeartSong Quilts shop, and The Vault were all burned to the ground after, a massive fire on February 18th.

All of these businesses, staples in the Hot Springs community, have contributed to the history and culture of the town.

Between filing insurance claims and making sure the area is safe to approach, the owner of The Vault says he is just now making progress on the rebuild.

“So its kind of been an emotional week being able to get in and see kind of where everything is at and just the memories of having one of the greatest businesses in town,” says The Vault owner, Gregory Gunwall. “This is the original bank of Hot Springs from the early 1900s, so in the middle there is the actual bank vault that we’re trying to save. It does have a few cracks in it so we’re trying to work around that to be able to save it.”

Although in recent years, The Vault has been a restaurant and bar, it’s actually a historic location as well.

By next week the entire location will be demolished so that the businesses have a fresh base to work on, and preserve whatever history is left.

The only thing that will remain is the sand stone on the front and south sides.

Ideally, Gunwall says he would like to re-open in less than a year, but several factors such as city construction, funds, and weather will determine whether or not that goal is possible.

“We’re coming back. We’re looking to be like a phoenix coming out of the fire so that’s our plan,” says Gunwall.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News