Two alarm fire at highway patrol facility

By DAVID A. LIEB

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- An early Tuesday fire destroyed the vehicle maintenance facility for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and damaged more than a dozen vehicles.

Patrol Col. Ron Replogle said the building appears to be a total loss as a result of a fire that began around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The Jefferson City area facility is used to repair patrol vehicles from around the state and to outfit new vehicles with radios and other emergency equipment. The 22,400 square-foot building constructed in the 1980s includes about a dozen bays for vehicle maintenance, a drive-thru car wash, radio shop, offices and storage facility.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office believe the fire may have started with an electrical problem underneath the back passenger seat of a Chevrolet pickup truck used by the patrol that was parked in a maintenance bay.

Replogle said there was nothing suspicious about the fire and no one was injured. A patrol trooper on duty at the nearby Troop F headquarters received the alarm, stepped outside and saw the fire and reported it to the Jefferson City Fire Department.

Replogle said eight vehicles were destroyed and an additional six suffered heavy smoke damage, including several new vehicles. One of the damaged vehicles belonged to the Fire Marshal's office and the rest were patrol vehicles, he said.

He said the building was worth $3.8 million but the total loss could range from $4 million to $5 million when vehicles and equipment are included.

"It is our main maintenance facility for the entire state for our fleet of vehicles," Replogle said. "So It's going to be a big loss for us. It's going to take us a little time to get operational here again."

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee were already discussing ways Tuesday to pay for a new maintenance facility. Replogle said the patrol likely would need to find a temporary site to use as a maintenance facility while the state makes plans for a permanent replacement.


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EARLIER COVERAGE

It took Jefferson City fire fighters nearly five hours early Tuesday morning to bring a two-alarm fire under control at the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F maintenance facility.

The fire was called in just before 1 a.m.

The facility is located behind the headquarters building on North Shamrock Road and was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived on the scene.

There were seven to ten vehicles inside the facility along with oil and aerosol cans and gas tanks close by.

The fire marshal was called in to investigate the cause, but fire officials did not believe there was anything suspicious about the fire.

There were no injuries.

The estimated damage from the fire could be as high as $1 million.

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