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Blaze destroys storage building

A large storage building was destroyed by a suspicious fire late Saturday night in Park Hills and nearly every agency in the county responded to the second alarm fire.

Park Hills Fire Chief Brad Weiss said when they arrived the building on Larkin Lane was completely engulfed in flames and had already partially collapsed.

“When we arrived the entire rear of the structure had already collapsed. The only wall still standing was the front wall,” Weiss said. “Everything else was already on the ground, and according to the 911 dispatcher they received multiple calls at the same time reporting a large fireball, possibly an explosion.”

Weiss said it wasn’t until they arrived they could actually confirm it was an unoccupied garage/storage building. He added he spoke with one of the renters and they said it was an empty building that he was renting out.

“I thought it was a mechanic shop, but the owner was renting the storage building to two occupants who were storing anything from vehicles to household item in there,” Weiss said. “I could not confirm, but I was told there was no electric into the building.”

Weiss said according to the St. Francois County Assessor page, the building was owned by a local company. He said he talked to one of the renters and he was renting half of the building for storage while moving.

“He told me there was another gentleman renting the other half of the building, but I couldn’t get his name,” Weiss said. “The fire marshal had a local law enforcement agency take some picture for him and he decided there was so much damage, and with the oil and gasoline, he said there was no way for him to take samples.

“Therefore, there was no way that he would be able to determine anything by spending time down here.”

Weiss added the fire is considered suspicious, but without any investigation that is far as they can go with it.

“He basically told me that unless there was someone who comes forward with information or a report of something they saw, this would be the end of the investigation,” Weiss said. “We were on scene form 9:22 p.m. until 11:46 p.m. and we did strike a second alarm for manpower.”

Weiss said departments who assisted the Park Hills Fire Department were Bismarck, Big River, Desloge, Potosi, Farmington, Leadwood, Leadington, Doe Run and Wolf Creek fire departments.

“We had probably the best response from our first alarm and our second alarm that I have seen in quite a while in the county,” Weiss said. “There were 55 firefighters there at one point … everyone came out.”

Weiss said there were some small explosions after they arrived, but everything was small from aerosol and paint cans, those types of things. He explained that they pulled down the one corner of the building because it was going to fall anyway.

“We asked for a second alarm for manpower, because we knew we were going to have to pull all of the metal off the building to extinguish the hot spots under the metal,” Weiss said.

Anyone with any information about the cause of the fire is asked to call Central Dispatch at 573-431-3131.

Several fire departments from across the region responded to a suspicious storage building fire in Park Hills late Saturday night. 

Several fire departments from across the region responded to a suspicious storage building fire in Park Hills late Saturday night. 

When firefighters arrived Saturday night the majority of the storage building was already collapsed on the ground. The fire has been ruled suspicious.

When firefighters arrived Saturday night the majority of the storage building was already collapsed on the ground. The fire has been ruled suspicious.

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