MARIES COUNTY - The Sweet Treats bakery in Belle, Mo. led food and water donations to firefighters working to put out a fire at the Kingsford Charcoal plant Friday. Sweet Treats co-owner Wendy Jarvis said she expected to continue running a donation drop-off site at the bakery throughout Saturday morning, but all but a couple of firefighters had left the scene.
"We called some of our vendors and asked if they would donate any food or water," Jarvis said. She also said PepsiCo and Walmart donated water, and the steady stream of donations lasted until late Friday night. Even though she started serving food at the bakery at about 6 a.m. Saturday, Jarvis said the efforts were worth the trouble for her and her staff. "We are all a really tight-knit community around here... It's like family, and it does the heart good to see that everybody pulled together for Kingsford and for all the firefighters," Jarvis said.
Belle Fire Chief Dwight Francis said the fire started at approximately 5:55 a.m. Friday, and firefighters from 15 different departments responded to it.
"We had it immediately contained, but it was a smoky fire and it took a long time to... put it out completely," Plant Manager Steve Miller said. Miller also said firefighters from area departments left the scene at about 4 p.m. Friday, and volunteer firefighters from the Belle Fire Department stayed at the plant overnight to help clean up. Firefighters contained the fire to Warehouse #2 at the plant within a few minutes after crews arrived at the scene. Kingsford is still working on cleaning up Saturday afternoon. Miller said Kingsford will conduct it's own investigation to determine the cause of the fire.
Miller said there were no injuries associated with the fire. "What happened [Friday] was pretty rare... but we had great support from the departments and the community."