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Moberly Police release photo of person possibly involved in fire

The State Fire Marshal is investigating a fire that happened early Saturday morning in the 300 block of West Reed Street in downtown Moberly.

On Monday, Moberly Police released a photo of someone who may have information about how the fire started.

Chief Robert Creed said the Moberly Fire Department was called to the structure fire around 1 a.m. They were able to determine the fire most likely started in the back of the building and then quickly spread to other businesses.

“That is where we had the most fire at when we arrived on scene,” Chief Creed said. “During our investigation we feel like this is the area of origin in the rear of the building off of the alley.”

Chief Creed said about 20 firefighters were on scene and were able to get the fire under control by about 5 a.m.

At this time, officials are working to determine the cause of the fire.

Chief Creed said there was no business occupying the building that originally caught on fire. However, he said it is considered a total loss.

“There’s very little roof left on it. It’s basically the four outer walls.”

Officials are now evaluating whether the remaining building is structurally sound and safe for the public.

Surrounding businesses like The Variety Store and Duval & Reid experienced water and smoke damage from the fire.

No injuries were reported.

Around 8:45 Friday night, the Moberly Department also responded to a small fire behind a building in the 500 block of West Reed Street.

“We found a small cardboard box that was near the rear door that was smoldering,” Chief Creed said. “We extinguished it then called the police department to come take some pictures to help us investigate. We don’t have any determination at this time on it either.”

He said officials cannot determine if the two fires are related or if the fires were intentionally started because the investigation is ongoing. If you know the identity of the person in the photo, you’re asked to call Randolph County TIPS at 660-269-8477.

On July 4, 2000, four businesses in downtown Moberly were destroyed by a fire caused by a lightning strike.

“You can’t just build businesses back in these buildings that have been here since the 1800’s,” Chief Creed said. “So unfortunately a lot of times you have to demolish the building in order to make it safe for the public to be around it.”

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