Overnight Blaze Damages Loveall RV's

8 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, January 19 2011 Jan 19, 2011 Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:55:41 AM CST January 19, 2011 in News
COLUMBIA - An overnight blaze at Loveall RV's on eastbound Interstate 70, near the Centralia exit, kept firefighters busy Tuesday morning. A total of nine engines and 40 firefighters worked to bring the fire under control.

The Boone County Fire Protection District reported it arrived on the scene around 1:40 Tuesday morning after a motorist reported smoke across I-70. Upon arrival, firefighters found the eastern half of the building on fire. The roof had collapsed and firefighters had to work outside of the building to avoid the dangers of the collapsing structure. Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp said firefighters were able to stop the fire in the maintenance area of the building, saving the office area and company records.

Loveall RV owner David Duffy said he got a call about the fire shortly before 2 a.m.

"My initial thought was how are we going to get this all together and get back working again," Duffy said. "My mind has been going since that time this morning thinking about what we're going to have to do."

Duffy said the fire destroyed numerous tools, an air compressor, a car lift, safety equipment and lots of batteries.  The fire district estimates the total damage is in the millions. It continued working Tuesday with the State Fire Marshal's office investigating the source of the fire, which will be an ongoing process.

"It's going to be an all day event today, several days of investigating," Blomenkamp said. "[There's] a lot of stuff in that building to go through."

A representative from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive or ATF came in Tuesday morning from St. Louis to help as well. 

"It's not real common that we would call [ATF] in, but the significance of the fire and the loss and the size, the complexity that we are dealing with here, it's just another resource that we can use," Blomenkamp said.

Despite the loss, Duffy is looking forward to the future.

"We are not going to let this slow us down," he said. "I have great faith in God and great faith in our friends and you cannot accomplish anything with a negative attitude. I've always led a positive life."

Duffy said Loveall RV is still open for business and the office number remains the same.

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