Friday, December 20, 2013

Servco Warehouse

With Photo Flood St. Louis, we made it to one of my favorite areas in downtown - an old industrial district with all sorts of aged warehouses. Most of them are not in use, but this warehouse caught my eye because of the bright red building topped with a silver building.

On Monday, this building inexplicably caught fire (4 alarms). Thankfully, it was only housing one tenant. However, said tenant had furniture and mattress which in fire speak equals a high fuel load - a lot of stuff that burns and I believe burns hot. (I'm no fire expert but I've read a few books on the subject).

I kept meaning to go visit all week, but finally made it today. I was not fully prepared for the devastation that had befallen this warehouse.

Here's almost the equivalent view from the visit in August:

And more:

I had no idea that the building was triangular in shape, because of the rail line that runs behind. I met a guy there who worked in one of the neighboring buildings (the one right below the Servco silver top), and he said that what saved the two adjoining buildings were the fire doors. The one closest to the Crunden Martin one was all cinderblock and had a fire door, though its roof caught on fire. The other one between his and the demolished one also apparently had a fire door that saved it. While that building doesn't have power back, the 3rd one apparently does.

He and I walked fully around the building -though the media seems to believe the homeless started this fire to keep warm, he doesn't believe it. I've found more reports that seem to say that the fire started on the third floor which leads me to guess that it was electrical. Again, I'm no expert, but I would expect the homeless to stay on the ground floor to make a quick escape.

I'm curious to know what will befall this land - he didn't know, but he suspects it'll be cleaned up quick.  It wasn't an exciting building like some of the others in the district but it was classic in its architecture and had historical significance to the district though I can't find much data on whether it had any other significance. I'm hoping one of my more researched friends may help me out there.

Update:  Paul of Vanishing STL wrote a well-researched post here.

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