Smoke from the fire at 1000 East Cleveland, the former McCully tire shop, was spotted by a passing motorist who called firefighters shortly after 11 a.m. Monett Fire Chief Tom Jones said firemen found the fire spread from the center of the north-south section of the "L"-shaped building, filling the structure within a half-hour of firemen arriving.
The building contained lumber, woodworking equipment, possibly some rolled roofing and personal items. The flammable contents fueled the fire, and a 30-mile-per-hour east-northeasterly wind created a difficult challenge.
Jones called in firefighters from the Pierce City, Rural Pierce City, Purdy, and Mt. Vernon departments. Water was drawn from five hydrants to fight the blaze. The city department had 18 men and three trucks on the scene. The ladder truck was positioned over the McCully house, east of the fire, and poured water on it to prevent the fire from spreading.
North of the fire at 808 Tenth St., fire embers burned two holes in the front porch deck and started fires in the yard and in a front tree. At 809 Tenth St., embers got into the 2x6 frame over the front door and started burning. Observers spotted the additional fires, enabling firemen to douse them quickly, Jones said.
"With the amount of wind, we could not leave anything smoldering," the chief continued.
The owners brought in a backhoe to push through the debris. Anything still smoldering got an extra dose of water.
The building was a complete loss, according to the chief, but the fire was contained. The chief expected the Isbell storage buildings immediately to the west may have had smoke damage to the contents, but no fire damage. Jones said firemen used 20 air bottles by the end of the day.
The cause of the fire was not determined, Jones added.