Firefighters battle Edina church fire

UPDATE: Fire investigators are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what started a church fire in Edina Thursday.

That fire at St. Joseph Catholic Church was reported just before 2 p.m. Thursday and fire crews were there within minutes.

"When I turned the corner there were flames coming out the southwest window of the building," said Edina Assistant Fire Chief Tom Morgret. "At that time I radioed to the guys and told them, 'We have got a structure fire.'"

About half a dozen area fire departments were able to put it out before the church was totaled.

Church member and construction supervisor, Larry Clark, told KTVO once he saw the entire top of the church filled with smoke, he thought it was a lost cause.

"It's going to be a big loss, financially. It's going to be a big challenge," Clark said. "But it's not only a loss to the catholic community here, but the entire community."

Just months ago, the community of Edina supported the church during the restoration of their steeple. Clark says the church is a community treasure.

"When we thought we were going to completely lose the church a lot of volunteers came and they removed most of the statutory, memorabilia and items that couldn't be replaced," said Clark

Morgret told KTVO Friday afternoon that local fire officials and three investigators from the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office were on the scene in Edina until 1 a.m. Friday trying to determine what caused the fire.

Morgret said investigators from the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office are expected back on the scene Monday to do further investigating.

He said it looks like the blaze started in the back, southwest corner of the church in a room the priest uses to change his clothes.

Morgret said it appears the fire started in the ceiling area of that room and spread upwards from there.

Clark said at this point they're waiting to get a report from the structural engineer about the amount of damage, but he says they're hoping it can be reconstructed so they can begin another restoration period.

Morgret told us the fire does not appear suspicious.

He also added that much of the church has a lot of smoke damage, and he said there is quite a bit of water damage around the altar and first and second row of pews, but it's nothing a good, deep cleaning shouldn't fix.

Fire Chief Martin Edwards told KTVO that insurance adjusters were on the scene assessing the damage on Friday.


UPDATE: Local and state fire investigators are looking into what caused a major fire at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edina Thursday afternoon.

Fire Chief Martin Edwards told KTVO that an investigator from the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office was on the scene late Thursday night trying to figure out what started the blaze.

Just before 2 p.m., fire crews were called to the scene.

We are told that when firefighters got there, flames were coming from one of the church's back windows, and smoke was pouring from the church's newly refurbished steeple tower that was just completed late last year.

Edwards said the church was not gutted by the fire.

He said a damage estimate is not yet available.

Approximately half a dozen fire departments helped put out the blaze.


A number of firefighters were called to the scene of a major fire Thursday afternoon.

Crews were called to Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Edina, Missouri, shortly after 2 p.m.

Edina Assistant Fire Chief Tom Morgret says the fire was challenging because it is the layers of roof of the structure.

Five fire departments arrived on the scene to assist Edina with the fire.

The Kirksville Fire Department sent its snorkel truck. Other departments assisting at the scene included Novelty, Baring, La Belle and Knox County.

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