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Wooldridge residents and state lawmaker say rebuilding church is symbolic

Wooldridge residents and state lawmaker say rebuilding church is symbolic

Missouri Governor Mike Parson speaks to American Red Cross volunteers in front of the historic Wooldridge church on October 26, 2022 (photo courtesy of the governor’s Facebook page)

A state lawmaker with more than 30 years of fire experience has never seen a blaze like last Saturday’s wildfire that destroyed 23 structures in mid-Missouri’s rural Wooldridge.

State Rep. Tim Taylor (R-Speed), who represents Wooldridge in the Missouri House, helped fight the fire. He tells 939 the Eagle that the heat was intense.

“If you look around, you’ll see the pools of molten, they’re cool now but pools of molten aluminum. And that just shows you how hot this fire got,” Taylor says.

The state Department of Public Safety (DPS) says the cause of the fire remains under investigation. While the fire damaged between 3,000 and 4,000 acres of land in Cooper County, there were no fatalities nor serious injuries.

Meantime, townspeople and churchgoers in mid-Missouri’s Wooldridge have started efforts to rebuild the historic church that was damaged in the fire.  Much of the church was boarded-up when Governor Mike Parson and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) toured the damage last week. Representative Taylor joined them.

“I look at it as a symbol for this community, right. A cornerstone here to show the rebuilding right here is a good sign,” says Taylor.

The fire’s cause is still under investigation. Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) tells 939 the Eagle that the Wooldridge recovery will be an issue that state lawmakers will address when they return to Jefferson City in January.