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Lightning may have caused fire at Outlaws

FARMINGTON — It is possible the fire that destroyed Outlaws Bar early Sunday morning could have been caused by lightning.

Wolf Creek Assistant Chief Steve Young said investigators were able to determine the fire originated high in the attic in the northern portion of the building. The bar was located just south of Farmington on U.S. 67.

Young said investigators checked and found that there had been many reports of lightning strikes in the area. He said they can’t eliminate the possibility of a lightning strike, but the cause may officially remain as “undetermined.”

Firefighters were dispatched to the fire just after 4:30 a.m. The first police officer on the scene reported flames and smoke coming through the roof.

When Young arrived on the scene he almost immediately upgraded the fire call from a first-alarm commercial fire to a second alarm to get more manpower and water. Soon after, it was upgraded to a third alarm, with every fire department in the county as well as some from Jefferson, Iron and Madison counties being paged.

Young said it took about two and a half hours to get the fire under control and then another hour to get all of the hot spots out. Two vehicles near the building also burned in the fire.

At noon, owner Matt Grisham was still trying to process what had happened that morning. He had received the call hours earlier from someone at Central Dispatch letting him know his bar was on fire. He said he was in awe — he’d lost everything.

He’s has been an owner of the bar for all five years of its operation even before it relocated from inside the city limits to outside the city limits.

He said they’d shut down that morning at 1:30 a.m. and staff left about two hours later.

The investigation of the fire was conducted by the state fire marshal’s office and the ATF. A St. Francois County detective was also on the scene. Law enforcement officials were assisted by members of the St. Francois County Road and Bridge crew who used back hoes to knock down metal beams.

Young said he appreciates all of the departments who assisted.

Wolf Creek was assisted by volunteer firefighters from Doe Run, Farmington, Park Hills, Desloge, Big River, Bismarck, Leadwood, Leadington, Goose Creek, Lake Timberline, Fredericktown, Cherokee Pass, Hematite, and De Soto Rural.

No one was injured.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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