Wall residents, business owners recall Monday night structure fire
WALL, S.D. – A large pile of charred wood and debris is all that remains of the Cactus Café and Lounge on Main Street in Wall — the smell of smoke lingering as people stopped to survey the damage.
Across the street from the former restaurant, Wall Drug Vice President Sarah Hustead and her father could only watch
“The firefighters were trying so hard and trying to keep it under control,” Hustead said. “But when those ladders showed up, that was really a game-changer”
Wall Drug according to Hustead, has wooden shingles. As the wind blew embers from the fire in their direction, she was worried about the possibility of one of them sticking to the awnings and catching fire.
Hustead and her family also own the Dakota Mercantile and Outpost buildings just next door to where the Cactus Café stood.
“It was right up against it. You could see the awning was on fire,” she said. “Lots of smoke, but on the inside of the building, there is not even the smell of smoke and minimal damage.”
A couple spots down is the Badlands Saloon and Grille, where Wall resident Jordan Hornbaker works. He was with his family close by as it all happened.
“We were actually inside getting the kids ready for bed and we thought our air conditioner was going out or something,” Hornbaker explained. “So, we started checking on that and we noticed it was pretty smoky outside.”
Hornbaker is a Kansas native, but his family is rooted in Wall and the surrounding area — some of them even on-scene Monday night as part of Interior’s fire department. He remains thankful that his family and home are okay.
“A little smoky in the house but still pretty good,” Hornbaker said. “It was far enough away where we weren’t too concerned with our house burning down.”
“Our hearts are really going out to the owner of the Cactus,” Hustead said.