Fire in Bevier destroys landmark restaurant, history museum

Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 11:07 a.m. CST; updated 10:26 p.m. CST, Thursday, November 29, 2012
An early morning fire in Bevier damaged The Pear Tree Restaurant and Black Diamond Museum.

COLUMBIA — A fire early Thursday morning destroyed two landmarks in the north-central Missouri town of Bevier: The Pear Tree Restaurant and the Black Diamond Museum. 

Bevier City Clerk Trinette Peukert confirmed Thursday morning that both the museum and the restaurant were a total loss.

Bevier, with a population of about 700, is located southwest of Macon in the heart of coal country. 

Peukert said the Bevier Fire Department received a call about 1 a.m. Thursday for the fire that started at The Pear Tree Restaurant and spread to the historical Black Diamond Museum. Firefighters came from Bevier, Macon and Callao.

Arriving home from work after midnight, Bevier resident Mary Summers stepped out of her back porch.

"It sounded like gunshot noises," Summers said. "I couldn't figure out what was going on."

Walking out her front door, she heard bangs that followed flames that increasingly grew higher. Her fiancé made a 911 phone call.

"It was a madhouse," Summers said. 

Summers and her fiance were at the fire along with many other volunteers.

"I know that at one point finally, the fire department said that anyone who was willing to carry things from the museum (do so)," Summers said. 

The museum housed historical artifacts and "everything that had to do with Bevier,"  Summers said. 

"It's amazing," Summers said. "We are a small town, but everyone pulled together."

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Supervising editors are John Schneller and Joy Mayer.

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