Lightning blamed for fire at old Renz prison site

Holts Summit firefighters battle the early Monday morning blaze in a building at the former Renz prison site after an apparent lightning strike started a fire.

Holts Summit firefighters battle the early Monday morning blaze in a building at the former Renz prison site after an apparent lightning strike started a fire. Photo by Jeff Haldiman.

Holts Summit Fire Protection District and Jefferson City Fire Department crews were dispatched around 6 a.m. Monday to a fire at a building at the old Renz prison site in the Missouri River bottoms.

When crews arrived they found smoke and flames coming from the roof line on the east side of the building.

Holts Summit Fire Chief Scott Brooks said, “It appears the fire started from a lightning strike to the roof. There were some things stored in the building, but nothing that would have been capable of starting a fire. We believe the strike hit the southeast corner of building.”

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Brooks said Smart Brothers Farm Inc., based in Tebbetts, own the former prison property. Brooks said this building, which was located behind the main prison building, formerly housed a gym, library and prison offices.

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