In Richmond, MO stood the Hughes and Wasson bank building. In 1867, this building was the site of a bank robbery and triple homicide in 1867, supposedly1 perpretrated by the famous outlaw Jesse James. Eleven years later, a tornado ripped through downtown Richmond, levelling buildings left and right, but leaving the Hughes and Wasson Bank building, the same one that Jesse James had supposedly robbed, untouched. It is believed that the building was constructed sometime before the Civil War. Sadly, all that history came to an end today as a fire destroyed this historic building and an adjacent building.
According to Richmond Assistant Fire Chief Mark Sowder, the fire began in the rear of the first floor of the building, which was housing "The Cleaners Etc.", a dry cleaning business operated by Michael Baker. The fire rapidly spread to the thankfully unoccupied apartments on the second floor, and the adjacent building. This building was to be the new offices of Misti McKenzie, LPN, and Ray Smith, LMT. According to the Kansas City Star's article, Ms. McKenzie has planned to open a deep tissue massage business. The building was being renovated by Dan Ball, owner of Highland Home-Right LLC Real Estate Inspection, a job that had begun this past October.
Officer Michael Estes of the Richmond Police Department would not comment on whether foul play was involved, saying it was "too soon to tell".
Thankfully, there were no injuries reported as a result of this fire, according to Ray county Ambulance paramedic Jamie Davidson. The Richmond Fire Department were first on the scene, but were later assisted by fire crews from Excelsior Springs Fire Department and Lexington Fire & Rescue.
1 There is some debate on whether or not Jesse James was actually involved in this robbery. When I spoke with Ms. McKenzie, she certainly seemed convinced of it.
I'll post pictures tomorrow; I took several. As for why I'm reporting on this: I heard about this fire in the area, and decided that I'd go photograph it. A bit of random amateur journalism, but then again, isn't that what blogging is all about? :)