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Five-alarm fire destroys building

A fireman is silhouetted against a blazing building at the former location of Farm Service's fertilizer facility in Hoxie. The current owner is Grisham Farms, Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo.
Submitted photo ~ Robert Warden
Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

A fire in Hoxie brought five fire departments out in the wee hours of the morning on Monday.

An alarm at 1:28 a.m. reporting a fire at the building on Northeast Second Street, formerly used by Farm Service as a fertilizer storage building, was immediately answered by Hoxie and Walnut Ridge firemen.

"The building was 75 percent involved when we arrived," said Robert Lee of the Hoxie Fire Department. "We made an interior attack on the fire and kept it from spreading to another building about three feet away."

Alicia and Portia firemen were paged for backup at 1:42 a.m., and Imboden firemen were called at 1:53 a.m. to help with their Cascade system, filling up air tanks for firefighters air packs. The fumes were not toxic, according to the firemen, but were extremely strong and foul smelling.

The building was a total loss and firemen expect it to be another couple of days before the fire is completely out. It is expected to produce an unpleasant odor for the area nearby.

The building is now owned by Grisham Farms, Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo. The company makes feed for animals and stores waste products from cereal, potato and corn chips, etc., to be used in the food.

Muriel Allison of Walnut Ridge is the manager of the Hoxie branch. He said the company plans to rebuild at the same location.

"They hope to have an all steel building up within two months time," Allison said. He estimated the company's loss at between $350,000 and $400,000. "The building and contents were insured," he said. "It won't be enough to replace everything, but it will go a long way toward rebuilding," he added.

Allison said he would like to personally thank each and every member of the county fire departments who helped put out the fire. "They saved a building that could have easily gone up in smoke," he said. "I'm very grateful to them for all they did."

No official cause for the fire has been discovered, but spontaneous combustion or a wiring problem have been discussed unofficially.

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