Fire rips through Shelbina businesses

Crews were called to the scene around 11 p.m. Wednesday. / Courtesy: Casey Smith Billingsley

UPDATED: October 24 at 4:39 p.m.

KHQA's Brooke Hasch visited the destruction in Shelbina, Missouri on Monday morning to see where businesses will go from here.

Five days after a massive fire ripped through Shelbina, multiple business owners are left looking at the destruction.

The fire engulfed the entire west side of Main Street Wednesday night, including the Chicken Coop, Photos to Remember, and Rash's Barber shop.

Since then, crews have demolished what was left of the historic buildings for safety reasons.

It may be weeks before the area is cleaned out and even longer before we know the cause of the fire.

"In this case, there was severe liability issues to the life and health of the community. So the decision was made to go ahead and demolish the buildings and extinguish the fire as best they could," said Dennis Klusmeyer, the City Superintendent for Shelbina.

That demolition could hinder the fire department's investigation into the cause.

Now, it's almost impossible to identify which shop was where, as most of their contents lay underneath mounds of bricks and rubble.

"We appreciate all the work the fire departments did and nobody got hurt. That was the most important thing," said David Ridgely, the owner of the old bank building.

As for the future of the site, the building's former business owners tell us they're not sure if and when they'll be back up and running again.

For the next few weeks, the cleanup lies in the hands of the buildings' owners.

"By the ordinance we have in place, we've got 30 days before we can intervene in the process, so right now, it's the property owner's responsibility. We're trying to assist with some information and guidance," said Klusmeyer.

"Basically what we're doing now is to get it cleaned up and help the folks that didn't have insurance on it get it cleaned up too," said Ridgely.

Several options being discussed as to the future of this site, but it's too soon to tell.

"It's hard in a rural community to put up a lot of nice fancy buildings and rent them out for the money you need to justify those types of buildings.There's a lot of different options going on around now," said Ridgely.

We will continue to bring you updates on this story, so check back for more details.


UPDATE: Friday, October 21, 2011 4:36 p.m.

Fire and insurance investigators were called back to the scene of the Shelbina fire twice on Friday.

Assistant fire chief Alan Wilt told KHQA that his crews took care of hot spots that flared up in the debris pile.Smoke is still a problem for nearby homes and business but Assistant Chief Wilt wants the community to know that there is no danger of the fire starting up again.

His crews are continuing to douse the area with water to keep that smoke down. The police department is also conducting regular patrols of the scene. The historic exterior frame of the buildings was completely torn down. There is no target date for completely clearing away the rest of the debris from the fire. There is still no official cause for the fire.


Crews will begin sifting through what's left of several businesses in Shelbina after a fire ripped through them late last night.

The Shelbina Weekly reports firefighters from 10 to 12 different departments responded to downtown Shelbina around 10:30 p.m. to a fire that started in Sam's Auto Parts.

The fire engulfed the entire west side of Main Street, including the Chicken Coop, Photos to Remember, and Rash's Barber shop.

Firefighters are still on scene and will be for a few more hours. They are asking all semi traffic to avoid Highway 15.

You can see pictures by clicking here.