Fire reported in Law. Co. Courthouse, arson suspected

Steve Chapman

 Mt. Vernon Fire Department trucks line the south side of the Lawrence County Courthouse Monday evening after receiving a 911 call reporting a fire.  Although still undetermined, arson is suspected. (Photo by Tish McBride)

A small fire that started in the women’s restroom of the historic Lawrence County Courthouse on the square in Mt. Vernon was extinguished within minutes of being reported on Monday, April 1.
No one was hurt, but Sheriff Brad DeLay of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, also chief of the Mt. Vernon Fire Department, reported that the building did sustain some fire and water damage in both the restroom and a small portion of the basement, and there was smoke damage throughout the building.
DeLay said an employee of the MU Extension called 911 at about 5:58 p.m., and within 10 minutes, the Mt. Vernon Fire Department had the fire put out.
“At the initial call, we received automatic mutual aid from area fire departments including additional ladder trucks from Aurora City and Monett City Fire Departments,” DeLay said. “However, due to the quick response, by Mt. Vernon, we canceled all responding mutual aid units before they arrived on scene.”
DeLay said it appears the fire may have been an act of arson.
“The fire originated in the women’s restroom in the basement,” he said. “It appears that it was intentionally set, but we are still investigating.”


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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