JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF) – A fire early Thursday broke out at the Old Joplin Library building at 9th Street and Wall Avenue.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the bottom floor. Once crews could gain entry, visible flames were reported on all three floors of the historic building.

Joplin Fire Chief Gerald Ezell said it took crews more than two hours to put out the flames. However, firefighters remained on the scene, monitoring for hot spots. Ezell said investigators have yet to make it inside the Old Joplin Library building to assess possible structural damage and determine the fire’s cause.

The Old Joplin Library has a long history in the downtown district. It was constructed in 1902 as Joplin’s first public library before becoming vacant when the City of Joplin opened a new library building at 3rd and Main Street in the 1970s. Then, just a few years ago, the city’s public library location was moved to 20th and Connecticut in a newly constructed building.