An early evening fire Friday, Feb. 15, engulfed portions of the former Hoffman Nursery barn at 750 S. First St., forcing southbound commuters to make a detour.

The 4:48 p.m. blaze attacked portions of the building, which now houses Deanna Christine’s resale store and auction barn on the ground floor and apartments on the second floor.

Jim Iden and Deanna Christine discovered the fire when they smelled smoke in their resale store at the front of the building. After a search they found smoke in the interior room and sent the alarm.

The fire appears to have started in an electrical junction box between the two floors, Iden said.

Flashing lights from 15 fire trucks created so much light that neighbors, lining the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street could follow the work of firefighters and the large boom that offered access to the upper story of the structure.

Eight fire districts were involved in the fire, which was extinguished in approximately an hour, according to Fire Marshal Ken Prichard.

“It appears to be an accidental fire that started in the wall between the first and second floor,” Prichard said.

Firefighters from Eureka, Metro West, Boles, St. Clair and Fenton assisted the Pacific Fire Department.

“The Valley Park Fire District moved equipment up to Pacific Station 1 and Cedar Hill moved up to the Robertsville station to cover those houses while we fought the fire,” Prichard said.

The fire was completely under control at 5:53 p.m.

Total damage has not yet been determined, but the resale shop owners said their losses were great.

“The water does as much damage as the smoke and fire,” Iden said.