Fire Destroys Abandoned Buildings

COLUMBIA — A fire destroyed a building Thursday night on what was once Sinclair Farm, an MU research facility on Sinclair Road.

The fire, which began at about 8:40 p.m., engulfed the L-shaped building, which was made of metal with a wooden frame, and caused the roof to cave in.

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I was settled into a nice movie night, when I got a phone call from the newsroom. All the GA people were out of commission, and they needed someone to report a fire. Not having a smart phone, I had to have the ACE text me the fire checklist, question by question, as I ran out to my car, plugged the address into my GPS, and was on my way…

Yes, I snuck past the police… twice. Once by accident, and then once again to get back on the right side of the incident. Yes, I saw the building curling up like discarded jiffy-pop foil and the water falling like a spray of golden fire, lit from the inferno below. It was beautiful, and I don’t feel bad about saying that, because no one was hurt – the buildings were abandoned, no one was inside, and all of the firefighters also escaped injury.

It took them a long, long time to send someone out to talk to the media. Some of the other stations left, drove their trucks out of the neighborhood where I was standing and waiting. Next time, I’ll bring better clothing. In my rush out the door I’d only grabbed a jacket and a scarf, and I was shivering watching the steam float off the water from the hydrants and the soaked grass start to crunch, frozen underfoot.

But I waited, and finally they sent someone, and I got all the answers standing there with my notebook pressed into my side to keep my hands still enough to write legibly. I called all the information into the newsroom ahead of me, knowing we were perilously close to 11 o’clock, but when I finished, they had me come in anyway – they were waiting for the story.

By the time I left, it was midnight, I smelled like ashes and smoke, and I was still shivering of cold and adrenaline. It was a different evening than I’d planned for myself, but way more interesting!