ST. LOUIS – St. Louis firefighters returned to the scene of the fire at Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes Monday morning to discover the cause of the deadly fire.
Firefighters battled a large blaze Friday night in the 4100 block of Laclede Avenue in the Central West End. One person was rushed to the hospital, and another died after the fire.
“We recovered a body Saturday afternoon,” said Capt. Garon Mosby with the St. Louis Fire Department. “Shortly after that, the building was demolished, what was remaining. We had gotten some reports from neighbors in the area that there was a belief, that there was an unhoused person on or near. So, being that we haven’t ID the individual that was recovered on Saturday, out of an abundance of caution, we showed up this morning with the K-9 team again to perform another search. We did not recover anything. That search was negative. And that’s why we were back today, and still waiting for an ID from the medical examiner’s office for a body that was recovered on Saturday.”
Kramer and his partner, Doug Feltch, ran the Marionnettes theater, which had been entertaining children and families for decades. The Mueller family had been taking three generations of their family to the popular puppet theater.
“Took the family and actually interact with Bob because he’s very inward and doesn’t like to be out in the show or be recognized,” said Greg Mueller. “He just likes to stay behind the scenes. Doug did most of the talking and did the whole tour with us, and when we got to the back room, Bob happened to be there. He just opened up. He loved talking to the kids and telling the stories about his kids, his puppets.”
“Those marionettes were his children,” said Mary Mueller, Gary’s wife. “So, when we heard about the fire, I said, ‘I just know it’s going to be Bob because he’s like a captain of a ship.’ He’s going to go down with his ship. He’s not going to leave those marionettes because they were so much his heart.”