Firefighter Injured by Collapse at Mo. Building Fire

June 2, 2013
Fire crews from Carthage, Joplin, Webb City and Carterville battled the blaze and contained it to the single building in Carthage Square.

June 01--CARTHAGE, Mo. -- Fire gutted a building on the Carthage square on Saturday as fire crews from four departments battled the blaze and managed to keep it from spreading to an adjacent building.

The Sassy Spoon restaurant at 315 Grant St. was described as a total loss as a result of the fire that was reported around 3:15 p.m.

One fireman was taken to Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital after he was injured when the roof and front of the restaurant building collapsed, according to Carthage police Sgt. Doug Dickey. He described the injuries as "not serious." The name of the firefighter was not being released on Saturday.

Fire crews from Carthage, Joplin, Webb City and Carterville battled the blaze and contained it to the single building, sparing McBride's Antique Store, which is just to the west. Windows were broken by the fire department including the main storefront window as crews pumped water inside to control the blaze.

"We think the other structure is no longer under any fire threat, but we are watching it," fire Chief Chris Thompson told the Globe shortly after 6 p.m.

Thompson said fire crews would continue watching the east wall of the restaurant building. He said the wall appeared bowed and unstable.

He described the restaurant building as a total loss. Investigators with the Missouri Division of Fire Safety will be trying to determine the cause of the fire. McBride's Antique Store sustained heavy smoke damage.

The restaurant building is owned by Ron Stiles, according to Carthage police Chief Greg Dagnan.

The restaurant and several other businesses had occupied the space for at least five years. Earlier, the building had been a sporting goods store and before that, it was Bee's Variety Store, owned by Jack and Sue Vandergriff. The couple also had owned the building to the west, said Sue Vandergriff, who is a Carthage historian.

She said the original building was one of the first on the Carthage square, built in 1861 and operated as a mercantile store that sold "everything from hoop skirts to harnesses."

That structure burned during the Civil War and was rebuilt by 1869.

In 1879, it became the McCrillis Brothers Hardware. The store had three full floors of merchandise and was billed as the largest hardware store in Southwest Missouri.

Staff writers Ryan Richardson and Susan Redden contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 - The Joplin Globe, Mo.

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