Springfield, Mo — Springfield's largest homeless shelter was damaged by an early morning fire that caused 185 residents, including 56 children, to move to new locations. The fire started just after 2:00 Friday morning in a second floor room at the Missouri Hotel.
The fire marshal has ruled the fire accidental. Investigators say they found multiple electric devices in the area where the fire began but can't determine which of them caused the fire. They say the building's electrical system did not contribute to the cause of the fire. Eight people were injured including five firefighters. All were treated and released from the hospital.
It could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before the hotel's residents can move back in. They're staying in temporary shelters at local churches and a hospital wing at Cox North in Springfield.
Kathryn Essen says the fire that led to the evacuation started in her room. “I have nothing it destroyed everything in my room,” Essen said. “That's all I had in life. That's all I got and it's gone.” She says she woke up to a strong smell of smoke and ran to warn her neighbors about the fire.