Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hometown Tragedy

I grew up in a town most people associate with fiction, Hannibal, Missouri.  Home of Mark Twain's famous Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, not to mention the "unsinkable" Molly Brown.  Tonight the quant little tourist town was devastated by the lose of one of it's iconic businesses, Grand view Nursery.

Not that Grand view was really all that iconic, but the company had been in business for over 30 years.  It was Hannibal's headquarters for John Deere small equipment, small motor repairs as well as four-wheelers and other ATVs.  It was one of the last places you would see as you headed out of town on Highway 61 towards St. Louis and one of the first places to greet you as you hit the Hannibal city limits.

Tonight, at approximately 5:30 pm, this Hannibal landmark went ablaze in a massive fire which as of 12:00 AM central time, was still in progress of being brought under control by at least 3 area fire departments.

The building pretty much burned to the ground by 8 PM despite the relentless fight from Hannibal, New London, Palmyra, and other area fire departments.  The picture to the left is from the Quincy Harold Whig, not my own.

I guess the reason I decided to write about this tonight is because it really hit home with me.  I never really payed attention to the business before unless I went in with my parents.  It was always just there and I expected that.  Now when I go back to visit Hannibal it will just be an empty space.

Also, I wanted to put out that stopping on the side of a 4 lane interstate to take pictures or video on your phone is just stupid.  You are a danger to yourself, other drivers, the firemen and police officers trying to deal with the already highly dangerous situation.  If an officer comes up to you and tells you to move on, just do it... what do you get out of arguing with them about it anyway besides the possibility of going to jail for the night??  I only say this because my husband had to work traffic control on this situation and was put in danger because people wanted to argue with him instead of letting him do his job.

It is not a good idea to walk up on a scene like this and hang around the fire trucks so you can take pictures.  Again, if an officer comes up and tells you that you are in danger and you need to leave... odds are FAIRLY good that he might know what he's talking about... WALK AWAY!!  Why is that so complicated??  Sorry for my soap box like rant, but from the perspective of a police officer, we are not telling you these things because we are trying to ruin your fun, we are telling you to leave because we don't want to have to send you to the hospital in an ambulance or worse to the morgue in a hearse...

My thoughts and prayers go out to Joe and Vince Howald, the owners of the nursery as well as all the employees who are now out of jobs.  Thank goodness no one was injured.

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