Dolores arson fire investigation continues Hollywood Bar owners make plans to rebuild

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A $5,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist in the Hollywood Bar fire. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

A $5,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist in the Hollywood Bar fire.

Investigators continue to look for the person or persons responsible for setting the fire that destroyed the Hollywood Bar and Grill and Fusion Studios and left two apartments uninhabitable late Thursday night on Aug. 2.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell told the Dolores Town Board Monday night that investigators with the sheriff’s office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are working on the case as hard as they can.

“We have several people of interest, but no suspects,” he said.

It appears, he added, that gasoline was used as an accelerant on the back patio of the bar.

“It’s very difficult to solve an arson case,” Spruell said. “But my investigator says he will solve this case.”

According to interfire.org, about 15 to 20 percent of arson cases are solved. A similar percentage goes along with most property crimes not involving arson because there are typically no witnesses.

Spruell said he was impressed by how much the community loved the Hollywood.

“I have never seen people attached to anything as they are to the Hollywood. It’s the topic of conversation everywhere,” Spruell said.

Meanwhile, the owners of the Hollywood are dealing with the aftermath of the fire.

“I only have one question for them, and that questions is, ‘Why?’ Louis Sims, owner of the Hollywood Bar said.

Louis and his wife Renee, of Texas, fell in love with the Hollywood a few years back while on a motorcycle trip that lead them through Dolores. They said it felt like a home away from home and when they heard it was for sale, they jumped at the chance. They bought a house in Dolores and continued to make renovations in the bar, adding new tables, new barstools, new televisions, a new jukebox and much, much more.

“We fell in love with this bar. This has been like a death in the family,” Sims said. “But the community itself has been fantastic.”

Sims was at Escalante Days and was greeted by many people upset about the fire. He wore a red T-shirt with holes in it, one of the few things that survived the fire.

“Everyone keeps asking if we will rebuild,” Sims said to the Escalante Days crowd. “The real answer is when are we going to rebuild the Hollywood.”

Sims said Tuesday that he is still dealing with insurance companies.

“Insurance companies are no fun to deal with and that’s the most Christian way to put it,” Sims said.

An asbestos tester came in last week and tested the buildings, according to Town Manager Ryan Mahoney. Both buildings came back negative.

“That’s great news,” Mahoney said, in terms of clearing out debris.

It is likely that all the walls will be torn down, Mahoney said.

Some things were salvaged from the bar Monday, including a foot rail and a section of the bar, complete with some names carved into it.

On Tuesday, Sims was back in Texas, where he owns and operated NAPA parts stores. Just before the fire, he was ready to open a fourth location, so he had to get back to Texas to take care of business there.

Sims said he and his wife and Travis Giddings are appreciative of the community. The community made food for employees and the owners and the trophy company from which they had just ordered trophies for Escalante Days which were destroyed in the fire, donated medals to be given out on Escalante Days.

“The community itself has been fantastic,” he said. “The memories of the Hollywood will live on.”