Morgan Music in Missouri fire

Morgan Music in Lebanon, MO burns on September 4, 2008Times have been tough for traditional brick-and-mortar music stores this past few years, but for Morgan Music, a primary source for bluegrass instruments in central Missouri since 1978, last week was especially difficult.

Their Lebanon, MO premises were badly damaged in a fire on Thursday evening , September 4. The fire was caused following a high speed chase involving a van driver and law enforcement officers and the driver loosing control of his vehicle as it was traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The driver was killed instantly and the van exploded following the impact.

There was an instructor and some students in the building at the time of the collision, but they all escaped unharmed.

A company representative posted this message on their website …

“Here’s what we know about the accident: The man driving the van had been in court earlier that day. While he was being directed through traffic at an accident in Camden County, he tried to hit an officer (of some kind). A high speed chase ensued. There were officers stationed at multiple points as he entered Lebanon. An officer clocked him going 94 mph at about the time he turned the corner, at which point he lost control. The van exploded after it hit the building. That’s what caused the fire. As far as we can tell, the fire went up through the electrical wiring, through the attic, and apparently fires have expensive taste also, as the acoustic room was incinerated.

What the fire didn’t destroy, the smoke and water did. We were able to salvage our files (I will never tease Mike about backing up again). Our accountant’s computer is up and running, even though when we picked it up we poured water out of it. We also managed to get a lot of the items that were on layaway as they were in the basement. Most importantly, our vintage Flatt & Scruggs, Ryman Auditorium, and Bill Monroe posters were saved.

We would like to thank everyone for the encouraging emails and overwhelming support. We are so blessed to have such wonderful customers, friends and community members.”

Morgan Music has found temporary accommodation nearby, but expect that the damaged building will have to be demolished .

The full story of the incident can be found in the Lebanon Daily Record. Pictures showing the devastating damage can be found at the company website.

We hope that the company can get back on its feet quickly and business is back to normal as soon as possible.

Note: humour still lives on, despite the bleakness of the occasion, with a new line being advertised as available from Morgan Music, namely Cinder Guitars ®.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.