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Fire heavily damages downtown Springfield buildings

Scene of the fire at 413 East Adams St.
Maureen McKinney/NPR Illinois
Scene of the fire at 413 East Adams St.

A fire in Springfield's downtown Wednesday kept crews busy for hours. The fire began before noon in the 400 block of East Adams, in a structure which housed the recently opened cat cafe called Cat's Pyjamas.

Neighboring buildings were also impacted. The adjacent Cafe Moxo announced it will be closed indefinitely as owners assess damage.

The cause remains under investigation but is believed to have started in an upper story. A tenant reportedly called authorities after smelling smoke.

The Elf Shelf, a longtime book and record store, formerly occupied the cat cafe space and was being moved upstairs. A social media post said art and artifacts for an exhibit on the former Pillsbury Mills were in the building and were destroyed.

A firefighter suffered smoke inhalation. Those inside the buildings got out safely. Cats from the cafe were removed and safely placed at a nearby business.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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