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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Fire breaks out in building being demolished

  • The cause of a Market Street fire Wednesday that started in a building being demolished is a mystery, according to Assistant Chief Sean Hampton.
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  • The cause of a Market Street fire Wednesday that started in a building being demolished is a mystery, according to Assistant Chief Sean Hampton.
    “There’s currently no utilities to the property and no other means of starting a fire going to the property,” he said. “The property owner said no one has been working here for at least a week, so something got it going.”
    As to what (who) might have started the fire at 1924 Market St., there were no immediate clues.
    “When we arrived on the scene there was no one around the property, other than just some bystanders. But something got it going since there were no utilities on in there,” said Hampton.
    When firefighters arrived at the scene a little after 1 p.m., they found a fire in a back corner of the two-story structure.
    “A pile of debris had been set on fire,” said Hampton. “We were able to contain it to that pile and get that fire extinguished. We checked for (fire) extension and there are no other problems in the structure at this time.”
    According to Hampton, firefighters took a “defensive” approach to battling the blaze.
    “We don’t know what the (demolition) company has been doing to it, so we don’t know what’s loose or not loose, and the property was in poor shape to begin with,” he said. “We treat those very cautiously with our personnel and bystanders around it. That’s why we shut the street down and kept people back from it. Fortunately it was in a location where we could extinguish it quickly, check it out and make sure we had no (fire) extension without having to get our personnel in very far.”
    Hampton did not believe Wednesday’s fire further weakened the structure.
    “It did not get into any of the structural members of it,” he said.
    According to the Department of Public Works, the building is owned by John White of Hannibal. He secured a demolition permit on Jan. 7 of this year.
    The building has been in declining condition for years. In 2010 a portion of the rear wall collapsed around 3:15 a.m. on April 7. No one was injured.
    While the last business to occupy the building was Huntin'Hut sporting goods, some may remember it as Cornelius Drug Store, dating back to the 1970s.

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