KC Parks employees suspect lightning is to blame for blaze that destroyed Stollings House

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a priceless piece of local history, and now, it's gone.

Kansas City Parks officials say the Stollings House, part of the Shoal Creek Living History Museum, which was built in 1885, burned to the ground during the overnight storms that hit the metro. Parks employees suspect a lightning strike caused the old house to burn.

That historic house was built during the Civil War era, and everyone who visited that public park, which is set near Shoal Creek Parkway, enjoyed seeing it. Kansas City Fire Department officials say it's a complete loss, after it burned to ashes around 4 a.m. Thursday.

The Stollings House is now in ruins, and Kansas City Parks managers say it can't be replaced. Kansas City Fire Asst. Chief James Garrett says fire marshals aren't sure what caused the fire.

"We lost the entire building," Kimberly Hess, museum manager, told FOX 4 News. "The entire thing burned to the ground."

The Stollings House depicted the pioneer era on the frontier, when families raised their own food and lived off the land. FOX 4 News cameras were rolling, as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, but, according to Garrett, the old house burned quickly and fire was quick to spread.

"Everything in it were antiques and artifacts from history. These were original pieces that were 150 years old-plus. There's no replacing it," Hess added.

Hess is among the parks workers who suspect lightning played a role in this fire. Hess says none of the Stollings House animals, including the popular chickens, were injured. Garrett says it's hard to put a price tag on the loss, since the items inside were antiques, and pieces of Kansas City history.

Heidi Downer, a spokesperson for KC Parks and Recreation, says the blaze will not affect the upcoming eclipse viewing party, known affectionately as Total Eclipse of the Park, which is scheduled for August 21st.