People living in the tourist town, Keystone, are relieved someone is now charged with starting the 2003 Keystone Fire. Investigators believe 27-year-old Sage Paulson is responsible for the fire that destroyed ten businesses.
In just a few months, thousands of tourists will fill these empty wooden walkways along shops in Keystone. It's a moment this town looks forward to especially after surviving a fire that destroyed the area.
Resident Dick Shuck said, "The downtown area was lit up like it was in the middle of the day. The fire was a raging inferno. It really was."
Resident Bill Zwetzig said, "I had tears in my eyes that morning. I was up here when it was all burning."
Zwetsig's son had to rebuild his business, the Ruby House Restaurant, because the Keystone fire destroyed it. Zwetzig said, "My daughter-in-law was up there and said we put all our heart into that and now it's gone. She was crying."
Nearly three years later, the emotions are still there. Especially now that they've learned police have charged Sage Paulson, a man from their own community, with arson.
Shuck said, "And there's anger. There's anger from myself and there's anger from everybody as far as I would imagine."
Zwetzig said, "I've know Sage since he was a little kid and I didn't know he would pull something like this off. I don't know what induced him to do this, but it sure took its toll on a lot of people financially and otherwise you know."
But one thing it didn't destroy was this tiny town's enormous spirit which is visibly moving forward in the shadows of Mount Rushmore
Zwetzig said, "I think it really offers you a sense of closure."
Shuck said, "Keystone is a survivor. It is and always will be."
Paulson has yet to be arraigned on the two counts of arson. Police didn't have to do much to find him. He's already serving time in the state prison for an unrelated charge.
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