Fire in Murray's Court Square
By West Kentucky Star Staff
MURRAY, KY - UPDATE: As of Wednesday afternoon, fire departments were still on the scene, checking for hot spots and structural integrity of remaining buildings, and assisting in the investigation into what caused the early-morning blaze. It may be a couple of days before the exact cause of the fire is released to the public.
State transportation officials say Highway 94 (Main Street) is open and traffic signals are working, but local officials are asking drivers to avoid the area due to ongoing work and clean-up. Murray Police say 5th Street remains closed between Main and Poplar Streets.
The rough year for Murray's court square continues. After a building collapse and a roof collapse earlier this year affected two businesses on the historic square, at least two more buildings have now been impacted by a fire that flared up early Wednesday morning.
Firefighters battled the blaze since 2 am, and well into mid-morning.
Motorists will have to avoid the square until further notice, with Main Street and Maple Street closed between 4th Street and 6th Street.
Murray Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Tinsley told West Kentucky Star that at one point they were pumping about 3,000 gallons of water a minute onto the fire, and they were concerned about the excess weight of the water on the buildings.
The state fire marshall is now on the scene, but an official investigation may not be able to begin until Wednesday afternoon. He has called for additional investigators to be sent to the scene due to the size of the damage. The fire marshall estimated that it may be a day or two before they know how it all started.
Business Owner Affected by Fire Realizes it Could Have Been Much Worse
Though the building he owns that housed his business suffered severe water damage and a collapsed roof as a result of the Wednesday morning fire on Murray's court square, Matt Hale, owner of the Thurman Campbell Group accounting firm, is glad that it wasn't worse.
"At least this didn't happen during tax season. Another accountant saw his building collapse back in the middle of tax season, I couldn't imagine if that happened," Hale said.
Hale said that when he first got the call there was a fire on his block, his initial reaction was to remember the other events on the court square earlier this year.
"My first thought was a flashback to the building that collapsed just a month or so ago (on the other side of the court square)," he said.
"You got to be prepared, I mean you hope these things don't happen, but you got to be prepared in case they do happen."
For him that meant storing vital information outside of the business's own walls.
"We have a lot of paper, a lot, but a couple years ago we started storing records and backing up information offsite," said Hale, "and just last year we started utilizing cloud storage, So all we need is a few laptops and a place to work and we can get back going."
In addition to the accounting firm, the building houses the Wizard of Sportscards store. But Hale is optimistic in spite of everything.
"We've got insurance, we will be ok," Hale said. "It will be a hassle to relocate, but it will be a chance to make a fresh new start too."