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Firefighters train their water cannons on the remains of the Centennial Block.

‘Late-night pizza call’ devastated downtown Monmouth in 1974

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Sicilian pizza maker Vincenzo Pizzo, who would later be charged with arson, was treated for second-degree burns at Community Memorial Hospital.
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La Roma Pizza occupied the north storefront of the Centennial Block.
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A pre-fire photograph of the Security Savings & Loan building also shows the Mayfred’s store and below-ground barbershop, which were destroyed.
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A wrecking ball knocks down what remained of the Newsland store, just three days after it held its grand opening.
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A photo of the fire site by Peoria Journal-Star photographer Jack Bradley shows the tons of sand that were trucked in to fill the gaping downtown hole.
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A year later, the block that had been leveled by the fire had become a controversial community eyesore.

Written by

Editor and historian for Monmouth College. Avid researcher of western Illinois history for 40 years. FB and Twitter. jrankin@monmouthcollege.edu

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