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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loveall RV's Damaged By Fire

A fire at Loveall RVs early today is estimated to have caused millions of dollars in damage.

The Boone County Fire Protection District responded around 1:40 a.m. to the business at 8877 I-70 Drive N.E., east of Columbia just north of Interstate 70. A motorist passing on the interstate called 911 to report smoke coming across the road.

No injuries were reported, Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp said. Firefighters found the east half of the commercial building — the maintenance area — in flames, and the roof had collapsed.

Because the roof was unstable, firefighters worked from outside the building to stop the fire before entering the office and showroom, Blomenkamp said. They found fire continuing on the second floor and extinguished that from the stairwell.

Much of the business’s financial documentation was saved, said John Wilke, chief investigator. Two fifth-wheel campers were destroyed in the maintenance area, and two popup campers in the showroom sustained heavy smoke damage.

Columbia resident Dale Loveall is the property owner, according to the Boone County Assessor’s Office. He could not be reached for comment.

Crews were continuing to put out hot spots this morning.

Boone County Fire Protection District investigators were working with the state fire marshal’s office to determine the fire’s origin. Because the blaze involved a commercial building, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been asked to help with the investigation.

Investigators were waiting on the scene this morning for the arrival of construction equipment, Wilke said. The equipment will remove the fallen roof and stabilize the building so investigators can enter. Potentially, it could be days before investigators can enter the structure.

While waiting, investigators were interviewing mechanics to learn what was in the building and where it was located, Wilke said. No suspicious activity has been reported.

Because the wind blew toward the south lot, where campers were located, each camper likely will be inspected for smoke damage, Wilke said.

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