Fire Causes Millions in Damages for Missouri State Highway Patrol

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JEFFERSON CITY - A fire at a Missouri State Highway Patrol maintenance facility caused up to $5 million in damages early Tuesday morning. 

Captain Tim Hull said a trooper in a nearby building heard the alarms go off in the facility around 12:50 a.m. By the time the trooper got to the building it was engulfed in flames. Fire marshals said an electrical short underneath the backseat of a pickup truck in one of the facilities' bays caused the fire. The fire marshal ruled the fire accidental.  

The majority of the damage was to the center of the building and the car wash area. The area was used for preparing new patrol cars for use and old patrol cars for sale or auction. There is some smoke damage to the radio shop on the east end of the building and the repair shop on the west end. Hull said those areas should be usable in a couple of days. 

"There were 10 cars including the pickup in the bays in that area of the facility. 8 of them will probably be totaled out," Captain Hull said.

The building itself costs $3.8 million. There was also a car lift at each bay in the building, tools, and supplies that brought the total cost of damages to $5 million.

Captain Hull said the damage to the building will mainly hurt the rotation of trading in the old cars for the new ones. The Missouri State Highway Patrol sells its old cars to law enforcement agencies all over the country and has a very good revolving car fund.

"The cars we do trade in are usually in very good condition and have very low miles on them, usually somewhere in the mid 50,000. So they are very sought after," Captain Hull said. 

While the facility is being repaired, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is going to use the parts of the building that were not badly damaged as well as some other buildings around town.