Fire damages Thomson House in Independence for third time in eight months

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Fire ripped through the historic Thomson House in Independence Monday afternoon. It’s the third fire to damage the house since August 2020.

Firefighters responded to the landmark at U.S. 40 Highway and East 36th Street around 2:40 p.m. Flames and smoke were already shooting out of the building. Firefighters immediately started fighting the fire from a defensive position.

There were no injuries.  But now, investigators are working to determine what caused the fire.

Independence Fire Capt. Mykael Ann Jones said the building is considered a total loss and will be demolished.

“There was heavy fire, and with us not being able to go in, we had to set up aerial streams and it took quite a long time to get it considered under control,” Jones said.

The building dates back to 1855. A historical plaque in front of the house explains the home was originally owned by Benjamin Franklin Thomson and built with slave labor. The family fled the area during the Civil War but the mansion lived on, in one form or another, for generations.

At one time, it operated as a restaurant and banquet space under the name “Old Plantation.”

Debbie Stone said her grandparents bought the home in the 1960s and ran the Las Playas restaurant out of it. She called the fire heartbreaking.

She hoped new owners would turn things around.

“When the first fire happened, that really hit us hard because that dream was still alive, and now this,” Stone said. “We know it’ll never happen.”

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