Source: Tim Epperson | Democrat
The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office has determined the cause of a Wednesday afternoon fire at a downtown thrift shop to be accidental electrical.
Sedalia Fire Department Battalion Chief Paul Withers told the Democrat Wednesday night the Fire Marshal’s Office had concluded its investigation into the fire at The Honey Hole Thrift Shop, located at the corner of South Ohio Avenue and Main Street.
“We were kind of looking that direction anyway but we wanted (the Fire Marshal’s Office) to look at it,” Withers said. “When a business is involved we call them in.”
Withers said the fire started in the back of the building along the Ohio Avenue side in the door next to the upstairs area, which he said was the main area of the fire.
“There was an old dumbwaiter in there and where it connected into a box plus another electrical line coming in from the restroom is where it started, in the box where they came together,” Withers explained. “We’re assuming the dumbwaiter shorted or malfunctioned, it didn’t trip the breaker fast enough and it started a fire.”
SFD received the call at 3:13 p.m. when a Sedalia Police Department officer on patrol noticed smoke coming from the store. The first SFD unit arrived on scene two minutes later to Ohio Avenue filled with smoke as the smoke made its way through the long two-story building.
SFD Deputy Chief Greg Harrell said on scene the breezy day was a concern, but responding to a fire in daylight hours was a big factor in controlling the fire.
Harrell said there was heavy smoke throughout the building, but only patches of flames.
“There was fire below (the firefighters) at one point, so we pulled out two crews,” Harrell said. “There is heavy smoke damage in the first floor and some fire damage on the second floor.”
SFD driver and operator Daniel Shaw, who was part of the crew that worked the second floor, said there was minimal fire on the second floor.
“There were isolated spots where it had burned through the floor from the bottom,” Shaw said.
Harrell said he was pleased with SFD’s ability to get a quick stop.
“It was reading 400 to 500 degrees down here (on the first floor),” Harrell said. “When we got in there pretty quickly it dropped to around 130, so it was good to know they were making quick headway. That made us feel better.”
Withers said Juanita’s House Antiques, the neighboring business, had slight smoke in its portion of the building, but no significant damage.
“I don’t think there’s any super structural damage, mostly the contents damaged, electrical stuff will have to be repaired,” Withers said of Honey Hole’s building. “It burnt through some floors on the second floor — it extended to the second floor and to the basement too. Where the dumbwaiter was at, the cable holding it up burned and dropped into the basement.”
The Honey Hole owners Danny and Charlene Coke were on scene as SFD crews worked to put out the fire at their business. The store is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so Coke said he was notified of the incident by SPD.
Coke said the business was previously located at 208 S. Ohio Ave., and that Honey Hole location caught fire about four years ago; the cause was also determined to be electrical. He added that they did not have insurance for the first location, but now have insurance. The thrift shop has been at its current location for just short of three and a half years, in a building owned by Rhoads Rentals.
“We’ve already had condolences from customers,” Coke added.
Withers said SFD cleared the scene at 7:10 p.m.
No injuries were reported.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.