Yet another suspicious fire breaks out in a vacant building in Hannibal. Fire crews responded to the former St. Elizabeth Hospital at 109 Virginia shortly after 5 p.m. Friday. Hannibal Fire Chief Sean Hampton says initial reports of  four kids possibly inside the structure added to the urgency of the call.  Hampton says the first crew made an interior attack to try to locate anyone inside.  After searching the entire southwest wing, no one was located.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.  Chief Hampton says debris inside the building was apparently set on fire.  Besides some scorched walls, damage from this fire was minimal.

Hampton says it appears someone gained entry by forcing a door open at the rear of the wing. Chief Hampton warns the public to stay out of the building due to hazardous conditions.  Hampton says he fears someone will break into the building, "get something going" and not be able to get out in time.

Numerous fires have been set in the vacant structure over the past couple of years. The City of Hannibal is pursuing legal action against owner Steve Owsley after repeated warnings to secure the building.


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