Van Buren Fire Guts City Block

Van Buren Fire Guts City Block
By: CJ Cassidy & Heartland News

VAN BUREN, MO --In Van Buren, Missouri a Tuesday morning fire ripped through an entire city block, gutting businesses, the newspaper office, and the Carter County Emergency Management Agency office.

Firefighters don't suspect foul play and wait for the Fire Marshal and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to wrap up their investigation.  You might call it the only silver lining in the dark cloud of heavy smoke looming over Van Buren.

Still many folks can't seem to shake the sadness they feel over the devastation to their town.
It isn't a typical setting for these four friends, who've met up for coffee or a picnic style lunch many times over the decades.
Tuesday, they gripped their coffee cups tightly in their hands, clearly disturbed at the drama unfolding before them.
"My son's business is gone, and the "Current Local" it's such a tragedy to lose whole building it's been here i grew up here and it's gone," Jane Dougherty says.
"It's very sad. Not just the loss of income and property but the history," Margie Duncan is Carter County Treasurer, and says she grew up reading the "Current Local", a family owned weekly paper housed in the burning building.
"It's extremely hard to watch the paper go up in smoke. My wedding announcement was in that paper; my children's birth announcements... and everything that's part of our lives has come out in the Current Local," Duncan says, catching a sob in her throat.
"My husband is the Carter County Emergency Management Director," Lena Sanchez says.
She worries it could take years to rebuild the Emergency Management Agency.
"I'm here to support him and the hard work he's put into building the agency," Sanchez says.
They may have gathered for different reasons, but the four friends all agree on one thing: they'll count on each other for support, as they wait for the smoke to clear.
The Director of the Emergency Management Agency appreciates his wife's support. He also wants to reassure folks they have contingency plans in case of a disaster, and are ready to go into action at a moment's notice.