Historic building burned overnight

By: Jerrika Insco Email
By: Jerrika Insco Email

An overnight fire took more than a building from the people of McCreary County.

The flames charred a huge part of history that the people of Stearns cannot recover.

Stearns Coal and Lumber Company has been around for more than 100 years but burned in a matter of minutes.

"It's been so hot and dry. The building being so old, it just went up too fast," said Myrtle Coffey, who owns Stearns Restaurant.

"We are suspecting maybe a cigarette or fireworks may have set this off, and it started from the outside in this one area right here," said McCreary County Sheriff Gus Skinner.

People of McCreary County say this historic building was the epitome of the area, especially Stearns Restaurant bringing in people from across the country.

"We've got 100 years of history we've lost. We can't replace that. You can replace buildings, but you can't replace history," said Coffey.

It is what officials and community members are calling a tragedy as they watched many memories go up in flames.

"It was upsetting just seeing the building that I've known my whole life to be here charred and halfway gone," said Barbara Edwards, who lives in Stearns.

"It's part of the community as an historical site, and we have people here that have shops that were destroyed, and we have a restaurant that was destroyed," said Sheriff Skinner.

But the sign still stands which is a miracle and a sign of hope for those grieving its loss.

Officials say a burn ban was in place for all of McCreary County making recreational fireworks in the area illegal.

The state fire marshal, McCreary County Sheriff's Department, and state police are continuing to investigate what started the blaze.

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