CARTHAGE, Mo. — A fire broke out around 8 pm Saturday destroying a total city block in downtown Carthage. Firefighters from surrounding cities came to help Carthage firefighters as they tried to control the flames that were fanned by high winds.
“We’ve got the State Fire Marshal en route right now,” said Ryan Huntley, Carthage Fire Chief. “The reports from our guys, who showed up first with the first engine, said that the KRTEK building was totally engulfed, which is an extremely large building full of tons of materials. When they arrived, that building was a loss, so they tried to save the church next to it. They were unsuccessful with that, with the winds and all of that.
“So basically, from Central to Second Street, Grant, Howard, which is basically a city block, we’ve pretty much lost all of that. We’ve had tons of mutual aid that showed up, that’s helped us out. A lot of mutual aid that we don’t have sometimes, so it’s been fantastic on that end. But, it’s a shame that we lost that block,” added Huntley.
“We were just right across the street, about, I’d say 100 to 200 yards away from where the fire first started,” said Brandon Ross, eye witness. “We were just eating some dinner. Next thing I noticed, the guy behind us was telling us ‘oh, there’s a fire’, so I looked out the window. There was two buildings, it took less than I’d say, five minutes for the building to be fully in flames, and it was,” he said.
“It started carrying, because it was so windy outside, so it just like, all the embers were going across the street right towards the gas station, and it started to get out of hand pretty fast. The smoke was just, it looked like big funnel clouds in the sky. It was like, real dark smoke, and it was pretty intense for a minute. I finished up eating and came outside, looking at all the power lines were starting to catch on fire, the power pole. It’s still on fire right now, actually,” Ross added.
Casa de Sanidad, an Hispanic church, and Henson Metal Building Supplies are both gone after flames ravaged the buildings. The fire was extinguished and crews from the State Fire Marshall’s office are investigating the cause. They were on scene throughout the night.
Carthage, Jasper, Webb City, Duenweg, and the Neosho Fire Department all responded to assist Carthage.
We will bring you more details as they become available.