It has been almost a year since historic Mule Barn Feed and Supplies caught fire and was destroyed. Since then, the outward appearance suggests little is going on with the property; however, Rick Ziegenfuss, Hollister City Administrator, has explained that, behind the scenes, the clean-up process is moving along.
According to Branson Tri-Lakes News archives, the Mule Barn fire took place July 21, 2018, and while no one was injured, the building itself was a total loss. According to court documents, the fire was started when Jesse Wilbur, then 18, was smoking methamphetamine and threw his lighter into a pile of hay. Wilbur was arrested on charges for reckless burning or exploding and other unrelated charges of 2nd degree property damage.
According to online court records, Wilbur eventually pleaded guilty to both charges, was sentenced to 180 days, and was released after being credited for time served. He was also sentenced to another 180 days for unrelated property damage charges, and received another 180 sentence and was also credited for time served.
Today, the Mule Barn looks much as it did the day after the fire.
“The idea that there is not a lot going on, that’s something that is the outward appearance. But, there has been a lot going on for a year,” Ziegenfuss said.
He said that the city and the Union Pacific Railroad are working toward awarding a clean-up contract soon. He said to expect major changes soon.
“Once they get it cleaned up, they are going to just turn it to green space,” Ziegenfuss said.
This will be the first time in more than 70 years, that this lot, owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, will be without the historic Mule Barn.