Herculaneum City Hall caught fire early this morning (Nov. 17), forcing officials to close the building for business until it can be cleaned up and repaired.
At about 5:20 a.m., a Herculaneum Police officer called 911 after he noticed the fire when he entered the Police Department, which is in the lower level of City Hall, 1 Parkwood Court, Herculaneum City Administrator Jim Kasten said.
No one was in the building at the time.
“Nobody got hurt, luckily,” Kasten said.
Herculaneum Fire Chief Kevin Baker said crews from several fire departments and districts responded to the scene and quickly put out the fire.
“I don’t know what started it, but it was a quick knockdown on the fire,” Baker said. “We had the fire out in five minutes.”
He said it looked like the fire started in the Building Department at City Hall, and it was contained to a few rooms.
After the fire was extinguished, crews were still on the scene to assess the damage and begin the cleanup.
Soot covered the walls in the offices on the north end of the building, a water cooler was partially melted and paperwork that was damaged by smoke and water lay strewn on the floor.
Kasten said most of the paperwork was from the plan room that contained blueprints. He said the information contained on them is saved on a computer.
Since firefighters used water to put out the blaze, there was some water damage to the Police Department downstairs, but no fire damage, Kasten said.
Ryan Leah, investigator for the Department of Public Safety and Division of Fire Safety, said he didn’t think the fire was suspicious, but he didn’t know the cause. He said the fire was still under investigation.
Kasten speculated the cause could have been electrical.
“There’s a bunch of papers in those offices. I don’t think there’s a space heater there, but (if there was), you shouldn’t leave them on," he said.
Kasten said City Hall would be closed for the foreseeable future and that city business could be conducted virtually.
In addition to volunteers from Herculaneum Fire, crews from the Festus and Crystal City fire departments and the Dunklin and Rock Community fire protection districts helped with the call for the fire at Herculaneum City Hall this morning.