Mountain Grove firefighters finally get a break from downtown fire

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 6:33 PM CDT
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MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. (KY3) - In Mountain Grove, firefighters finally got a break after fighting a blaze on the square Tuesday night. The fire destroyed two buildings and caused major damage to two others.

The fire broke out just after noon on Monday. At one point, firefighters thought they had it under control, but then it took off again late in the afternoon when they discovered that the fire was burning in between layers of old roofs and ceilings.

City officials say the fire began after a building partially collapsed and struck electrical wires that ignited the fire.

There were no injuries from the collapse, but 25 firefighters had to be treated for heat exhaustion at the scene. Lt. David Brown said he was proud of how the fire departments and community pulled together to get through the long, hot day

“As far as the community, I cannot express just how much they actually do mean to us,” said Lt. Todd. “We didn’t even ask, and they had water, they had food, they started getting cold rags and placing them on firefighters heads.” He added, “I’ve said it on Facebook many times, we live in the best community there is and they proved it again yesterday.”

Lt. Todd said all of the firefighters recovered from the heat exhaustion. He also said in the 19 years he’s been here, this is the fifth fire he’s worked on the square.

Meanwhile, the owner of Stone Cottage Inn and Bakery said it’s devastating to see her building destroyed, after all of the work she and her family put into restoring it.

“We’ll just wait for the fire investigators to do their part and do the insurance deal, wait for the insurance company to settle,” said Deborah Deborah Gehrken. “And then my daughter and I will get our heads together and try to figure out, to try to rebuild. We’ll just have to wait and see what the insurance company says, and go from there.”

Her daughter, Jess Peterson, ran the bakery. She said the hardest part was losing family heirloooms, but like her mother, she plans to press forward.

“Just help the community as much as they’ve been helping us, and you know, new plans happen, bigger and better beginnings will come from it, but just have to deal with the devastation and loss at the moment,” said Peterson.

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