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Ember from training starts fire at Missouri State Penitentiary


The Jefferson City Fire Department said Thursday that an errant ember from an intentionally set fire on city property caused a blaze Wednesday on the roof of a Missouri State Penitentiary building.

Firefighters were sent to a fire in housing unit No. 2 at about 4:20 p.m. and saw smoke and fire coming from the roof, the fire department said in a news release. Firefighters put out the flames on the outside of the building but had problems putting out the remaining hot spots because of the building's instability.

The building had been damaged in the May 22 tornado that hit Jefferson City.

The Jefferson City fire and police departments were using a drone to survey the damage on Thursday.

Firefighters had been helping with a "training burn" on adjacent city-owned property at 102 N. Chestnut St. and the fire department believes an airborne ember from that fire ignited the roofing, foam insulation and vegetation on the prison building roof.

Firefighters remained at the prison overnight and will check on the building throughout the day, the fire department said. Capitol Avenue was reopened at 9 a.m., the fire department said.

The historic prison is only used for tours.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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