LIBERAL, Mo.–Smoke fills the air as crews put out the smolders of what is left of the former Liberal High School.
At around 10:20 pm on Sunday evening, the fire department responded to a call of the lower level of the building being engulfed in flames. Residents that went to the high school say seeing it like this is heart breaking.
“Went to elementary school, had gym in this gymnasium right here, so there’s a lot of memories for a lot of people around here,” explained resident John Nicholas.
The building was still in use as a gym for area students. Now that it’s gone, a question comes up: Where will these kids they play?
“The only ones that are this hurt really are the kids that don’t have a gym now,” said resident Laminda Thompson. “They have one at the high school, but it would be hard to take all the little kids up there for every gym class. And winter is coming, so they’re not going to be able to have any kind of gym class.”
The Liberal Fire Chief says this is the tenth fire the town has seen since June 25th. And, all of the buildings that have been burnt were vacant.
“It’s made everyone uneasy around here. There have been like five fires in the last week.”
Just across the street, there’s another scene where a fire erupted from a bus barn. And around the corner, what remains of vacant homes.
This has residents on high alert that a fire could break out near them.
“It’s really scary,” Thompson continued. “I mean, we live in trailer park. And there are several empty trailers and propane tanks, and I have an elderly father that’s in a wheelchair and I’m hoping and praying that they don’t come to the trailer park because it wouldn’t take very long for it to engulf up into flames.”
The Missouri State Fire Marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire at the school, as well as others in the area. This building was still in use by the school district as a gymnasium for students. And, just a couple hours before the fire, there was a sporting event being held in the building.
There were no injuries from the fire.
Firefighters are currently working to put out a fire that’s taken over the former Liberal high school.
We spoke with the Barton County Sheriff’s office, they say every available deputy is in the area right now.
Multiple fire departments were called around 11:00 P.M.
Residents could see the flames from multiple parts of town.
Jackie Pock sent us these images.
Grace Steinert sent us this video.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.