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By Echo Menges
Edina, MO – Thursday, December 8, 2022 – The community of Knox County is reeling after a devastating fire destroyed the Blue Room restaurant and bar in Edina.
Emergency personnel were dispatched to the fire at approximately 2:52 a.m., according to Edina Police Chief Ryan Bishop.
The Blue Room is located at 105 South Fourth Street just one half block south of the Edina Town Square.
Volunteer firefighters from Edina, Baring, Hurdland and the Knox County Rescue Squad were observed at the scene of the fire, along with personnel from the City of Edina, Ameren Missouri, the Knox County Ambulance District and York Construction.
According to KCAD Co-Manager Brian Banks, no injuries were reported during the fire.
The firefight lasted for several hours as dozens of firefighters worked to extinguish the fire and protect the neighboring structure, which is an abandoned house on the southeast corner of East Morgan and South Fourth streets.
During the firefight, dozens of firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, which produced a massive amount of smoke.
The City of Edina and Ron York Construction arrived with heavy machinery, a backhoe and a trackhoe, to assist the fire departments in gaining access to sections of the burning building. Then, to pull down exterior walls after the fire ravaged the interior.
South Fourth Street was full of firetrucks and other emergency vehicles throughout the response. Every nearby fire hydrant was utilized along with a drop tank set up near the fire.
The cause of the fire is unknown.
“It came through right there at the vent over the stove,” said EVFD Assistant Fire Chief Tom Morgret. “We don’t know what caused it.”
A Missouri Fire Marshal is expected to access the scene of the fire.
The community began pulling together immediately to support fire crews.
Jamie Grantham, Manager of Casey’s General Store in Edina, responded to the scene as fire personnel were arriving and provided needed cases of water, coffee, hot chocolate and even donuts to firefighters throughout the firefight. Grantham watched the fire in disbelief. Her parents are credited for building the current building.
Terry Klocke, owner of another Edina restaurant, Lucky’s Cafe, opened early to provide hot coffee and free breakfasts to any hungry emergency personnel clearing the scene.
According to the Blue Room schedule maker, Leanna Holdren, the Blue Room employed 19 staff members at the time of the fire.
The Knox County Chamber of Commerce has started a Blue Room Staff Fund which will be given to those 19 staff members. Donations can be made at the United State Bank in Edina and the Citizens Bank of Edina. A collection basket for the Blue Room Staff Fund will also be set up at tonight’s Small Business Thursday event, which is being held at the Knox County Community Center from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Blue Room is Edina’s oldest continuously running restaurant. The business has been operated under several owners over the decades.
The Blue Room started as a tavern opened in the 1940’s, just after World War II, according to Knox County Historical Society President Brent Karhoff. The original location was on the basement level of the Kline building located across from the courthouse on Highway 6/Lafayette Street.
“When I was a kid you could go down there and get a light bulb sandwich. June and JJ McCabe opened the building it was in now,” said Brent Karhoff, Knox County Historical Society President.
Much of the response was documented live by The Edina Sentinel via the NEMOnews.net Facebook page. The comments sections of those videos are littered with community members past and present sharing their memories and sadness to see the establishment destroyed.
A high definition raw video recorded during the fire is available below.