The 'Berg burns

Monday, August 18, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:13 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bystanders picked up charred pieces of the Heidelberg early this morning, saying they wanted to have a piece of a Columbia tradition. They watched as photographers and firefighters walked among the hoses, broken glass and other debris.

Just after 1:30 a.m. the Columbia Fire Department received a call reporting smoke at the Heidelberg Restaurant. Firefighters arrived to find a significant amount of smoke rising from the roof of the building, said Steve Sapp, a battalion chief and public information officer for the Columbia Fire Department.

The three-alarm fire required the response of more than eight trucks and 70 firefighters at the height of the blaze. Sapp said after 20 minutes of an aggressive interior attack, no progress had been made and the crews were pulled out. At that point, he said they worked on protecting Osama's and Domino's by creating a water curtain between the buildings.

Osama's, the coffee shop and restaurant next to the Heidelberg, sustained water and smoke damage, but no estimates on how much damage have been given yet. Sapp said that before Osama's opened originally, it was required to do some remodeling, which included building a new firewall between Osama's and the Heidelberg.

"The firewall was the key," said Sapp.

Sapp said the investigation into this fire would be a tough one considering the amount of damage the building sustained due to the collapse of the roof.

"We can't get investigators in until we get somebody to come in and get rid of some of the debris," said Sapp. "We may not even get this solved today."

Sapp estimated the damage to be a minimum of $200,000.

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