More than 40 firefighters battle blaze at shopping center

Mehlville Fire Protection District command officers, from left, Phil Minnella, Steve Mossotti and Jim Hampton, direct firefighting operations during the July 19 blaze at Concord Plaza. Also pictured are a pair of unidentified Crestwood firefighters.

Mehlville Fire Protection District command officers, from left, Phil Minnella, Steve Mossotti and Jim Hampton, direct firefighting operations during the July 19 blaze at Concord Plaza. Also pictured are a pair of unidentified Crestwood firefighters.

Staff report

More than 40 firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze at the Concord Plaza Shopping Center last week.

No one was injured in the July 19 fire.

The first alarm sounded at 7:39 a.m. and before first responders returned to the firehouse at 11 a.m., 11 fire engines, 33 firefighters, three ambulances, six paramedics and eight men in command were deployed to battle the fire at the shopping center at South Lind-bergh Boulevard and Baptist Church Road.

“When the first engine company pulled on to the parking lot, they were met by heavy smoke and fire,” Mehlville Fire Protection District Chief Jim Silvernail told the Call. “I called the second alarm as I got on the parking lot.”

Silvernail said the fire began when a wire to a freezer unit at the Healthy Shopper, 132 Concord Plaza, shorted and sparked. A passer-by noticed the fire and alerted authorities.

The store and its contents were consumed. Also damaged were the El Maguey restaurant, Tandy Leather and a curio shop called All That Glitters.

“There was an overhang out front connecting all the stores,” Silvernail said. “Once the fire got in there, it started to spread pretty quickly. I’m proud of our men, they got in there and did their job.”

Mehlville firefighters received mutual-aid assistance from Affton, Springdale, Fenton and Crestwood firefighters. Units from Kirkwood and Rock Township in Arnold moved to stations in Mehlville to be available in case another emergency occurred elsewhere in the district.

Silvernail said there were no estimates of the total damage as yet.