Mother Nature likely to blame for Pinckneyville fire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mother Nature likely to blame for Pinckneyville fire

PINCKNEYVILLE, IL (KFVS) -

It appears Mother Nature is to blame for a fire in Pinckneyville that killed a young firefighter. It also destroyed two businesses on the town square.

The official cause of the fire is listed undetermined. But, Ron Ridgeway, the owner the Antique Mall says there is a consensus by investigators that lighting is to blame. He says since that day they've worked tirelessly to clean up the mess left behind.

From the windows of her saloon, Sarah Sconce watches as Ridgeway and his wife continue to work to remove the crumbled remains of their business.

"If you look toward the back of the building it's almost cleaned up, you know they are really working hard to clean it up and they're going through it as they are doing it too and there's a lot of brick," Sconce said.

The fire destroyed the Historic Opera House and the Antique Mall.

Pinckneyville Fire Chief Jim Gielow says the fire started in the Antique Mall then spread next door. On that day, a storm had moved through the area. 

"From what the fire marshal was saying he believes it was lighting, he don't have the physical proof to actually say that so he was going to list his cause as undetermined," Gielow said. 

Ridgeway says me his insurance company also blames lighting for this now pile of rubble. He adds they heard a tremendous crack just moments before this fire broke out.

But Ridgway says he and his wife, also lost their home in this fire since they lived on the bottom floor. Ridgeway adds for the past nine weeks they have spent their time working to save what they could and remove debris. 

"They've had Bobcat, they've had trucks and trailers come in and take loads of brick," Sconce said. "I mean they have been working day and night."

Meanwhile, in the mist of the all rubble stands an American Flag. Ridgeway says it's a reminder as they continue to clean up, that they're just slightly bent but not broken.

Ridgeway says the excavator is set to start moving debris from his former building Friday. He adds after that, they'll focus will shift to the Opera House.

At the same time, plans are underway for a Fallen Heroes Memorial at the front of the Perry County Courthouse. To find out how you can help call Shear Attitude Salon. Send donations to the Fallen Heroes Fundraiser, PO Box 172, Pinckneyville IL 62274.

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