Fire Marshal requests investigation into possible arson at old theater in Cape Girardeau; section of Broadway remains closed

Fire on Broadway and N. Ellis in Cape Girardeau, Mo. on Wednesday, March 31.
Fire on Broadway and N. Ellis in Cape Girardeau, Mo. on Wednesday, March 31.(KFVS)
Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 4:14 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The State Fire Marshal has requested the Cape Girardeau Police Department to investigate a possible arson on Wednesday, March 31 at the old Broadway Theatre.

Investigators were asked to collect potential arson evidence.

The 800 block of Broadway Street in front of the building will remain closed to traffic.

The public is asked to stay away from the area.

According to Cape Girardeau Interim Fire Chief Randy Morris, it’s expected to remain closed until possibly early next week.

“We would like the residents and pedestrians to just be aware of the barricades that are in place, that are there for their safety,” said Missouri Fire Marshal Greg Hecht. “And it’s because of the concerns for the stability of that front wall.”

Firefighters said two walls on the corner of the building are unstable.

Cape Girardeau firefighters were called to the large two-story building located at 805 Broadway Street at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

When crews arrived the scene in downtown Cape Girardeau, smoke and fire could be seen coming form the roof of the old Broadway Theatre.

There was a partial roof collapse on the front of the building, impacting the second floor.

Crews from surrounding areas including East County Fire District, Jackson, Scott City, Gordonville Fire District and Fruitland Fire District were called in to help due the size of the building and the amount of flames and smoke showing.

A ladder truck was used to knock down the fire from the top of the building as multiple crews worked around the structure with hand lines.

It took crews approximately 3.5 hours to fully extinguish the fire.

Thanks to observant residents calling 911 and rapid fire department response, the recent fire at the approximately...

Posted by Cape Girardeau Fire Department on Friday, April 2, 2021

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The fire department reported no one was in the building at the time of the fire.

City engineers and the building owner evaluated the building Thursday morning to see what can be done.

The building has moderate fire and smoke damages estimated at a $300,000 loss.

The Broadway Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2015. It was built between 1920-21.

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