ST. LOUIS – Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of a massive five-alarm fire that engulfed a block-long warehouse on Park Avenue in south St. Louis. Local publishing company Reedy Press lost its inventory in that fire but is steadily making a comeback.
“I’d say we’re about halfway there,” said publisher Joshua Stevens.
Stevens praised the publishing company’s staff for their accomplishments.
“We have great people and you can’t do it without a great staff,” he said.
Reedy Press has since moved to new location and is in the process of replacing dozens of lost titles. The fire came right before the holidays, a time when book sales typically peak.
Reedy Press author Amanda Doyle said community support has been amazing. Doyle is the author of “The Missouri Almanac,” “100 Things to do in St. Louis Before You Die” and “Standing Up for Civil Rights in St. Louis.”
“People really came out of the woodworks to say how much they liked the books and how much they appreciated things that Reedy authors do for St. Louis and other places,” she said. “It’s been really gratifying.”
The cause of the fire was never determined. One firefighter was injured that day. He was able to return to work the next day.
Capt. Garon Mosby was on the scene that day providing media members with updates. A giant wall collapsed and fell, destroying a fire truck just feet from where Mosby was standing.
“I just recall looking up and you could see it was sort of like in the earthquake movies when the ground opens up,” he said. “I saw the wall separating from the roof line.”
Mosby said the fire truck was destroyed but it blocked debris from harming firefighters.
Mosby said he still remembers a life-saving decision made by a fire captain that day. Even though firefighters were making progress, the captain ordered them out of the warehouse. That decision likely saved lives.