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Firefighters respond to suspicious fires at former St. Elizabeth Hospital

The Hannibal Fire Department says crews responded to multiple fires Friday morning at the former St. Elizabeth Hospital in Hannibal.

Assistant. Fire Chief Sean Hampton said when crews responded to the building at the corner of St. MMary’sAvenue and Virginia Street, the front entrance was on fire. The fire was extinguished quickly, but another fire was found in the building near the entrance.

Hampton said they don’t know what caused the fires, but they are considered suspicious. The utilities in the structure have been off for a while, and Hampton did say the city has had problems with people breaking in to building.

Hampton said investigators found debris piled up where the second fire started.

Hannibal police are investigating. Hampton said the property owner also had a contractor secure the building Friday afternoon.

No one was injured.

The former hospital has been the source of problems for nearby neighbors for years.

Some neighbors say they are tired of the things like overgrown bushes, graffiti and broken glass near the building. The city condemned the building back and January.

City officials say Steve Owsley bought the property back in 2011 and has plans to develop it into senior housing.

Fire officials say there’s a problem with people breaking into the building and one neighbor wants the whole problem gone.

“We got kids at home,” Damien O’Brien said. “We don’t need that sketchiness around here and the trouble that it brings. Cops are in the neighborhood all the time for uunnecessaryreasons.”

O’Brien says he would like it torn down and turned into a a park or something for the neighborhood kids.

The landlord will find out December 5 if he will receive housing tax credits to convert it into senior housing.

Jim Roberts

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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