Fire destroys Brown Shoe Factory in Salem

SALEM — The old Brown Shoe factory in Salem is now in ruins, as a late night fire Wednesday largely consumed the building.

Firefighters received the call around 10 p.m. Wednesday to the building at West Main and College Street that was partially housing Dalton Storage.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were already consuming the building where multiple generations of area families had once been employed.

The flames quickly spread, with the building becoming completely engulfed and spreading to the home of George and Crystal Sloat on South Pearl.

Firefighters concentrated on the Sloat home and keeping the fire from spreading further, as the old factory building burned out of control.

Some neighboring residents reported being evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

More than 1,400 Ameren customers on the north and west sides of Salem lost power, as electricity was cut to the old building, leaving much of Salem in the dark and knocking out traffic signals.

Firefighters from Odin, Centralia City, Kinmundy-Alma, Iuka, Kell, and the City of Mt. Vernon provided mutual aid. The Red Cross, Marion County Civil Defense and Salem Department of Emergency Management were also on scene, providing assistance to law enforcement with diverting traffic.

The State Deputy Fire Marshall responded to the scene to help determine the cause of the blaze.