JOPLIN, Mo. — Shortly before 9:45 p.m. the Joplin Emergency Communications was notified of reports of a structure fire to the west of Downtown Joplin, 320 South Moffet.
As firefighters approached a second alarm was sounded as heavy smoke and flames were observed, the multi-story building, The Olivia Apartments.
Redings Mill Fire District was requested to assist in the south of the city. Also, some Battalion Chiefs and staff were called in to assist in other areas since so many firefighters were already on the scene.
The building was built back in 1906 by Anton Bendelari — a civil and mining engineer from Canada — who moved to Joplin during the mining boom. He named the building after his mother.
Click for the latest story from October 2020 when the Missouri Alliance of Historic Preservation named the Olivia a Place of Peril.FSHP
The Olivia was best known for its 5th floor restaurants, marble baseboards, and decorative painting on the ceiling.
In our October 2020 FSHP article on the Olivia, Jill Sullivan, Executive of Director of Post Art Library, said, “Well it makes me sad on a personal level because it’s not just about the building, like I said its about the cultural landscape the fabric of our community. Its about the building and all the stories and the people that go along with the building.”
The building has not been occupied since the 1990s. Numerous attempts have been mounted to save it like other downtown buildings. Now it appears it’s too late.
Two ladder trucks set up along Moffett on the NE and SE corners of the building. No firefighters were injured battling the fire, and notably so, no firefighters entered the building. Joplin Fire Chief James Furgerson told us afterwards.
“I decided right from the beginning this would be a defensive fire.”Joplin Fire Chief James Furgerson
Chief Furgerson was already in town at the Joplin City Council Meeting where he spoke briefly about the purchase of the new Ladder Truck 7, which will be bought in 2021 to go along with Station 7, yet to be built.
Fire was declared under control at 12:00 midnight. And fire was declared out at 1:10 AM.