by Paula Morehouse and Cody Nutt, Ky3 News
9:53 PM CST, January 21, 2013
WEAUBLEAU, Mo. - Several hours after battling a huge fire at the intersection of Highways 123 & 54 in Weaubleau, crews brought in a backhoe to knock in most of what was left of the three buildings that caught fire. The town's fire chief said the burned out brick shells posed too much of a hazard to remain standing.
The blaze destroyed three vacant structures, including the Common Ground Cafe, although it has been shut down for about a year.
"I do believe they've been doing some renovation in there in order to reopen. So there's a possibility some of the work that's been going on there, that, there could have been something. I don't know if there was any heaters involved in there or what," explained Weaubleau Fire Chief Roger Foster.
The fire started around 7 o'clock on Monday night. The cause is undetermined at this point.
"The best we can tell, it may have been electrical. It's hard to tell. We'll have a fire marshal up here sometime in the morning or tomorrow see if we can determine the cause," said Foster.
The chief said the buildings are old brick structures common in many Missouri downtown areas and probably date back some 100 years. Years ago, one of the other structures had been a feed store and the other one a grocery store, Foster said.
A manager at a Casey's General Store across the street from the cafe handed out coffee and water to the fire fighters throughout the evening. The station also shut off its gas pumps because of the store's close proximity to the fire.
"It was a precautionary measure just in case any embers or anything had come over here. We didn't want the pumps going up, too," said the on-duty manager Crystal Wright.
Wright had to come in to manage the store to relieve another employee who is a volunteer fire fighter and needed to help battle the blaze
Seven fire departments--all volunteer--rushed in from nearby towns to help douse the flames. No one was injured.
Copyright © 2013, KY3-TV