Flames were ‘extinguished quickly’ in Springfield crematorium fire, officials say

Flames were ‘extinguished quickly’ in Springfield crematorium fire, officials say
The City of Springfield is proposing to sell its interest in the Littletonand Rue Funeral Home property to the funeral home operator. Bill Lackey/Staff

Fire damaged the exterior of a Springfield funeral home’s crematorium Saturday, but the co-owner of Littleton and Rue said firefighters extinguished the blaze quickly.

The fire was reported around 10 a.m. at Littleton and Rue’s crematorium, which is behind the Limestone Street funeral home in a separate building on Mason Street.

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Rob Rue, co-owner, said he believed brush or material outside the crematorium apparently caught fire and ignited a wood covering on the roof of the building. Rue said the crematoriums inside were not damaged.

“First responders from Springfield Fire Rescue division extinguished the flames quickly”, Rue said.

Rue, who also serves as a Springfield city commissioner, said he did not expect the fire to result in any disruption of service to families.

“The business has operated the crematory since the 1980s”, he said.

Springfield Battalion Chief Bob Smith suspected dried leaves and twigs likely ignited because of heat from the stacks from the crematorium.

“The fire briefly extended into the building, but firefighters extinguished that before it caused any damage”, Smith said.

Smith did not have a final damage estimate but expected it to be no more than $3,000.