POTOSI, Mo. – The Missouri State Fire Marshal is working to determine what caused a four-alarm fire at a Potosi storage facility Thursday morning.
A Potosi police officer on patrol reported the fire at 8 And U Stor-It just before 7 a.m. Twenty fire departments in the area responded.
The fire destroyed more than two dozen storage units. While the fire damaged those units, others nearby sustained smoke damage.
“It was really a tough one because it was kind of closed-in, being a storage unit,” said Potosi Fire Chief Roger LaChance.
After the flames were extinguished, people who rented units showed up to sift through the ashes for valuables.
“We found the jewelry box with the wedding rings in it and we found our silver,” said storage renter Peggy LaFrank.
Special items are gone forever. Donna Panos lost items belonging to her mother, father, and uncle.
Some people who spoke with Fox 2 News did not purchase content insurance or if they did have homeowners insurance, little was actually covered.
Lori Horton is one of those who did not have insurance.
“Who goes out and buys homeowners insurance? You have a storage unit! You think your stuff is going to be stored and safe but it’s not,” she said.
Jack Allen and his family have had their unit for more than two decades.
“It is our income,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of work to fix it back up.”
None of the estimated 70 firefighters who responded was injured. The cause is under investigation but there’s talk about one possibility.
“We’re thinking maybe a possibility somebody was staying there,” Chief LaChance said.
Fire victim Vickie Glore added: “Somebody is to blame for it and I hope they catch them.”
And owner Jack Allen said, “The particular person, I told them before that they couldn’t stay in there; it was against the law.”