SOUTH ST. LOUIS – Thousands of historic documents, including the proclamation of France’s approval of the Louisiana Purchase, and the Great Soulard Discovery Map were saved Tuesday when a fire hit the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in South St. Louis. Around 80 firefighters and an estimated 24 trucks were called to tackle the blaze at 7:00 p.m. on Russell Boulevard near Grand.
The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is one of 14 museums locations around the country. It is housed in the former “Third Christian Science Church”, built in 1911.
We are told that two people had been inside of the building when the fire started, but they made it out safely and no injuries were reported.
Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says indications show the fire may have started in the basement and quickly spread to the stairwell. The majority of the structure is wooden which caused some problems for firefighters.
Frank Absher, Exec. Director of the St. Louis Media History Foundation explains the majority of the rich artifacts are gone, but a lot of it has been digitalized so it is Absher says, ” it’s just an amazing testament of St. Louis City Firefighters hard work”.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
FOX 2 will bring more information as it becomes available.