The history behind the historic Walnut Street home that caught fire

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Investigators said Wednesday’s fire at an apartment on E. Walnut Street was an accident, caused by faulty wiring.

Springfield fire officials said the fire that started on the first floor of the apartment spread to the upper floors and attic. They said the way the older home was built allowed the fire to spread quickly.

Fire officials said the department last inspected the building in 2019. They added that working smoke alarms were present and activated at the time of the fire.

Those with the History Museum on the Square said the damage to a historic home downtown is tragic for the community.

Executive Director, John Sellars, said he did some research on this particular building.

“Most of the houses in that area were built around the turn of the 20th century,” Sellars said. “Just before, or just after, 1900. So, I would assume it was in that same genre, the same era.”

Sellars said when something happens to a historic building it can be heartbreaking.

“When we lose one, whether, through mischance or fire or just neglect, it’s tough,” Sellars said. “It’s a loss that can’t be reclaimed.”

OzarksFirst crews are still working to find out if the building is a total loss. Sellars said most of the similar apartments in the neighborhood were only just recently converted to an apartment-style, except for this building.

“That one went into apartments in the early 1920s,” Sellars said. “I don’t know whether it was because it was a significantly larger size than some.”

He said he is glad to see the community showing interest in the history.

OzarksFirst crews saw the apartment building boarded up on Thursday night.

Fire officials said nobody was injured as a result of the fire. The investigation by the Bureau of Fire Prevention is closed.

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