Skip to Content

Fire at Osage County ice plant determined to be accidental

Image (32)
Smoke rises Wednesday afternoon at an ice plant in Freeburg, Missouri. An overnight fire was ruled accidental by the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
Image (28)
A firetruck sprays water on a fire at Hilke Ice Co. in Freeburg, Missouri, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
Image (27)
The Hilke Ice Company plant smolders Wednesday morning, June 19, 2024, in Freeburg, Missouri.
Image (32)
Courtesy Osage County Sheriff's Office
Work continues to put out a fire at Hilke Ice Company in Freeburg, Missouri, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
Image (30)
Osage County Sheriff's Office
A firefighter can be seen against flames at the Hilke Ice Company on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
Image (29)
Osage County Sheriff's Office
Steam and smoke rises from Hilke Ice Company early Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Freeburg, Missouri.


A fire that burned overnight at an ice factory in a small Osage County town was ruled accidental, according to a press release from the Department of Public Safety and a social media post from the Missouri Division of Fire Safety.

According to the release, the Freeburg Community Fire Association requested the Division of Fire Safety investigate a fire at Hilke’s Ice Company in Freeburg.

Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham said the fire at Hilke's Ice Company started at about midnight.

The release says video from inside the building allegedly showed the fire starting at a machine. Employees had found the fire while loading pallets onto ice trucks, the release says. No injuries were reported.

Bonham said by the time he arrived the building was engulfed in flames, he called for assistance, and then proceeded to help guide traffic. A spokesperson with the Missouri Department of Transportation said MoDOT arrived to direct traffic in front of the plant by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Heavy steam and smoke was rising from the damaged building. The fire was still burning a little after 9 a.m. Wednesday and the state fire marshal was at the scene to investigate, Bonham wrote in an email.

The company said on Facebook that it was open for business as usual and will complete their deliveries for Wednesday. Laron Hilke, owner of Hilke's Ice, said that his colleagues from the Ice Association are sending truck loads of ice from states around the country including: Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama and many more.

More than 12 rural departments from around the area also sent tankers and trucks to the factory. Westphalia, Vienna, and Linn fire crews were just a few on scene assisting Freeburg Fire Department.

Cement trucks filled with water were sent and used to supplement the water supply.

The Lake Ozark Fire Protection District also sent equipment to the location.

The owners said fire crews left between 3 and 4 p.m., but had to be called back after a small fire reignited in a front section of the building and hot spots were detected in a section of the building.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Matthew Sanders

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

Author Profile Photo

Olivia Hayes

Olivia is a summer intern at ABC 17 News.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content