OSCEOLA, Mo. – Crews battled flames impacting multiple businesses and an apartment building in Osceola Thursday. “We’ve lost one, two, three, four, we’ve lost five buildings,” Travis Foley, the Sac-Osage Fire Chief said.
Fire officials say they worked quickly to prevent the fire from spreading to even more structures. Foley says everyone was able to get out of the buildings safely. “First priority was to make sure everybody was out and then we started calling,” Foley said, “we did an all-call for Hickory County, St. Clair County, Cedar County, and Polk County for ladder trucks and tankers.”
Firefighters also had to battle the frigid temperatures Thursday, as neighboring agencies and community members banded together to help. Centra Polk County Fire Rescue Lieutenant said, “We brought rehab supplies and trying to keep everybody hydrated. Some warm coffee, some warm hot chocolate. Just keep things so they can keep moving, doing what they need to do.”
People who live in Osceola say there’s a lot of history behind some of the buildings that were damaged.
“The Civic Theatre hasn’t been in operation for quite a while, but it is definitely a building that has a lot of fond memories for people that live in our community,” Teresa Heckenlively, the St. Clair Economic Development Director told OzarksFirst, “It’s sad to see that go. Working with the city of Osceola, and some of the businesses around, everybody had high hopes that someday something would go into that building and it would be operational again.”
Previous coverage and images from the scene
Fire has officially destroyed 5 buildings on the public square in Osceola, according to Travis Foley, the Fire chief of the Sac-Osage Fire Protection District. They are currently trying to keep it from spreading to a sixth building.
Multiple units from Osceola Fire Department and surrounding counties are battling the blaze that began in the southeast corner of the square and spread through at least three storefronts. They are operating on limited water supply and pulling water from Humansville.
According to a Facebook post by the Clinton Fire Department, Clinton Fire Chief Mark Manuel says that two large commercial buildings are involved in the fire, causing four separate business occupants to be displaced.
Crews are not able to enter the building to combat the seat of the fire due to extensive fire damage, building construction, and other features of the building. It also stated in the Facebook post that a coordinated defensive fire attack is in progress with all agencies on the scene.
Attorney J.D. Baker, who has offices across the square from where the fire started, told OzarksFirst today that the fire appears to have destroyed a barbershop, thrift store, and the apartment above the thrift shop.
A shuttered movie theater adjacent to those two storefronts also was involved, Baker said, and firefighters were pouring water on it to try to contain the blaze.
Baker said he could see units from Collins, Clinton, and other communities assisting Osceola Fire in battle the blaze.