SENATH, MO (KFVS) - Something really stinks in the city of Senath. It was three weeks ago when a fire destroyed a local supermarket.
And yet, rotting meat has people in town holding their noses and asking why the mess hasn't been cleaned up.
It's a dispute between the stores insurance company and the insurance company of the landlord. Not many people know the details, but cleanup has been halted and it's left one smelly mess.
"This is 23 days, we still have meat laying on the shelves there," Mayor Joe Lane said on Friday. "I do not know what's in the meat locker, but as you can tell we have a fantastic odor here."
A fired sparked in the back of the building destroyed the longtime grocery store in Senath on June 16.
Now, weeks later amidst the charred rubble lies some very well done steaks, and Mayor Joe Lane has had all he can stomach.
"Somebody needs to take a hold and get the meat out," Lane said.
Ramey's former store manager agrees.
"If Ramey's had their way it would have been cleared up the day after the fire," said Larry Carnell, Ramey's former store manager.
The Department of Natural Resources says 80 percent of the debris has been cleared, but the cleanup crew was told to stop as insurance companies investigated.
"I know Ramey's was given the go from their insurance company to finish clearing it up, but now it's being held up by the insurance company, the landlord's insurance company," Carnell said.
"We can't continue with this sort of thing," Mayor Lane said. "There's all kinds of varmints in here and it's not just the stink but I wondered what about the bacteria and stuff."
Officials with the county health department and DNR have surveyed the debris and are waiting for a timely cleanup.
Folks are not only worried about the health risks of the rotting meat, the stench can be smelled for blocks away.
"I wouldn't go in a restaurant with that kind of smell outside," said Sunshine Cafe owner Sue Crossno. "Flies have been atrocious."
Crossno moved her cafe from next door to across the street after the fire. She lost a lot of inventory and had three machines destroyed.
"I do think that's one of the problems of why we are so slow," Crossno said. "It's noontime and we're pretty much dead."
"You can sit in the restaurant, sit over there and eat a steak and look over here and see one," Mayor Joe Lane said.
"I live in this town too and I understand these people they're part of my family also, but you know there's issues that have to be handled before things are done," Carnell said. "It's just protocol that has to be gone through."
So for now, it still a waiting game on the landlord's insurance company.
The mayor says the town could fine the store for violation of an ordinance and DNR could also issue notices, but none of that has happened yet.
No word yet on whether the store will rebuild.