March 19, 2009

Fire Destroys Village Market in Memphis

Children – never play with matches. That long-standing warning was reinforced Wednesday when the Village Market in Memphis was destroyed by fire. The blaze originated in the basement of the store, where a youngster reportedly was handling matches.

The Scotland County Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 11:33 a.m. when the emergency call came in regarding a fire in the store’s furnace.

When the first engine arrived at the site at the intersection of Highways 15 and 136, just minutes after the call, smoke was already billowing from several spots in the roof.

The first hose team entered the basement area from the rear of the store. The firemen were unable to isolate the flames because of the numerous divisions in the structure’s walls, floors and ceilings created by a series of additions to the original building.

The blaze continued to spread and eventually consumed the entirety of the building, forcing firemen to cease efforts to extinguish the blaze and instead focus on preventing further spread of the fire to adjoining property.

Fire Chief Bryan Whitney stated that the property owners indicated the fire had originated in the basement where a child had been playing with matches.

More than a dozen firemen responded to the call with four fire trucks. Their efforts were aided by numerous volunteers as well as by the Scotland County Ambulance Service and the City of Memphis electric and water departments.

The fire’s proximity to Highway 136 as well as the department’s connection to two hydrants on the north side of the highway, forced the roadway to be closed for several hours. The traffic efforts were handled by the Memphis City Police Department, Scotland County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The fire completely destroyed the building. A small portion of the contents were able to be evacuated at the onset of the fire, but the bulk of the merchandise was also destroyed.

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