LINN CREEK - Twenty Fire Departments around central Missouri were called on Thursday afternoon to a fire at Woodland Scenics. It took crews 3 hours to extinguish the fire. Osage Fire Chief Jeff Dorhauer said both employees at the business and firefighters reported no injuries.
Osage Beach Fire was dispatched at 12:30 p.m. to the site of the fire. There first crews to arrive found heavy smoke and flames and called for more units. Dorhauer said he could see black smoke from where he was dispatched in Osage Beach.
Woodland Scenics is a large facility with several buildings. He said crews on the scene thought the buildings that were on fire were already a complete loss and the heat was too much to go inside. They took a defensive approach to protect other parts of the buildings from the flames. Dorhauer said the adjoining buildings had very little damage.
Crews started tearing the buidling down piece by piece in the evening to determine the cause of the fire. He said generally this is something they don't do but they are concerned about the amount of flammable materials stored in the building. Crews wouldn't be able to complete extinguish the fire without doing this. He said they want to make sure this fire doesn't rekindle and spread to the parts of the building that were saved from the fire.
He said they have idenified some areas of concern that may lead to clues as to what started this fire. He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation but there is no indication of suspicious activity.
The biggest problem that crews faced was water supply. There are hydrants in the area but crews quickly exceeded the hydrants capacity and ran out of water. Tanker shuttles were brought in and water was pumped from Camdenton. These tankers are very labor intensive and that's why so many departments were called in to help.
Dorhauer said the business employs about 150 people. The company makes model railroad supplies.
"The impact on this community is going to be great. While the majority of the building is still standing, there is smoke and water damage throughout the entire complex and what their turnaround time to be back in production, we don't know yet."
There were 20 different fire departments with 120 fire fighters on the scene throughout the day. This included units from Columbia, Jefferson City, Holts Summit and Cole County.