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Fires : During demolition work, Chillicothe's Leeper Hotel catches fire
Posted by Tom on 2012/6/4 11:40:00 (860 reads) News by the same author

The old Leeper Hotel building in Chillicothe, which has been undergoing demolition in recent weeks, caught fire on Saturday evening while that demolition was continuing. The fire was contained to that structure, although there was smoke damage to a nearly chiropractor's office. No injuries were reported.

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The fire was brought under control in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. A smaller number of firefighters remained on the scene overnight Saturday (and into early Sunday morning) watching for "hot spots". After that, firefighters planned to check the site from time to time.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately determined, although it was believed to be accidental.

The Trenton Fire Department and Carrollton Fir4e Department were both called to assist. The Linn County Ambulance Service responded to stand-by for ambulance calls, assisting Chillicothe's firefighters, who double as ambulance service personnel.

Five firefighters from the Trenton Department and the Grundy Rural Fire Protection District helped fight the blaze. An aerial truck from Trenton was used in those efforts.

Traffic in downtown Chillicothe was detoured for about 6 1/2 hours. The fire call came in shortly before 6 o'clock Saturday evening. Joe Darr is Chillicothe's Assistant Fire Chief:

Click here to listen to Joe Darr

The blaze began at the rear of the building on the lower level. The Red Rock company has been in the process of tearing down the building, work that was underway at the time of the fire:

Click here to listen to Joe Darr

The old Leeper Hotel building is on the corner of Washington and Webster Streets in downtown Chillicothe. Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to nearby businesses, although there was some smoke damage::

Click here to listen to Joe Darr

The debris from the demolition work is attributed to the fire spreading so quickly:

Click here to listen to Joe Darr

Ironically, the Missouri Net's Bob Priddy had filed a report about the historic structure just LAST WEEK, noting that a spokesman for the Missouri Preservation Society said the Leeper Hotel WAS to have been listed on this year's statewide list of "most endangered properties":

Click here to listen to Bob Priddy

The Leeper Hotel building was nearly 130 years old.

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