JOPLIN, Mo. — An early morning fire erupts at the Old Joplin Library building, with flames and smoke covering every floor.

Joplin Fire Chief, Gerald Ezell said dozens of fire crews were dispatched to the historic building, located at 830 Wall (at the intersection of 9th Street and Wall Avenue), just after 5:00 a.m. Thursday (6/30).

Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the bottom floor of the Old Joplin Library building.

Once crews were able to gain entry, visible flames were reported on all three floors of the historic building.

Fire Chief Ezell said it took crews more than two hours to put out the flames.

However, hot spots continued to arise, keeping firefighters on the scene for several hours after the initial fire was extinguished.

The Old Joplin Library has a long history in the Downtown district.

It was constructed in 1902 as Joplin’s first pubic library, before becoming vacant when the City of Joplin opened a new Library building at 3rd and Main Street in the 1970’s.

Then, just a few years ago, the location of the City’s public library was moved to 20th and Connecticut in a newly constructed building.

Joplin Fire Chief, Gerald Ezell said investigators have yet to make it inside the Old Joplin Library building to begin assessing possible structural damage, and to determine the cause of the fire.

Chief Ezell is asking the public to stay away from the area of 9th and Wall as the Joplin Fire Marshal and the Joplin Police Department conduct their investigation into the early morning blaze.

This is a developing story. We’ll continue to update you here on fourstateshomepage.com when new information becomes available.