Texas Wesleyan’s Dillow House a ‘total loss’ after fire

  A. Lee Graham Reporter   No cause has been determined for an overnight fire that destroyed Texas Wesleyan University’s Dillow House.   As of noon Monday, the Fort Worth Fire Department said an investigation had not begun into what burned the 100-year-old structure.   “Investigators haven’t been able to get into the structure because of its condition,” said Engineer Tim Hardeman, a fire department spokesman.   Hardeman described the house at 3216 E. Rosedale St. as a “total loss.” No firefighters responding to the 1 a.m. fire were injured while battling the blaze.   “We knew the building wouldn’t be safe to get into,” said Hardeman, alluding to two previous fires and vandal damage the building suffered. The structure, near East Rosedale Street and Vaughan Boulevard, previously was used as the university’s alumni center.   Earlier this year, the Fort Worth City Council approved the university’s request to remove the historic designation from the structure, allowing Texas Wesleyan to demolish the beloved but dilapidated house.   In arguing its case, the university cited a need for economic development in the surrounding Polytechnic neighborhood and said the Dillow House would impede development plans. Opposing the school’s plan was Historic Fort Worth Inc., which sought to save the structure.   The building was donated in 1979 to the university by Texas Wesleyan graduate Audrey Dillow, daughter of banker Samuel Dillow who built the house in 1912.   lgraham@bizpress.net