Historic Jacksonville funeral home torn down after devastating fire

Building had stood for more than 100 years in Downtown Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Days after a massive fire tore through a historic building in Downtown Jacksonville, crews tore down the old funeral home Wednesday morning.

Intense flames could be seen from blocks away on Saturday as more than 140 firefighters battled the blaze in the abandoned Moulton and Kyle Funeral Home on Union Street. They kept the fire from spreading to nearby buildings, including a 7-Eleven next door.

In one hour, the building, which held 107 years of history, was destroyed and the roof and second floor had collapsed.

Hearse found in rubble not damaged by flames. (JB Coxwell Demolition)

Crews working on the demolition said they found brick and wood inside but everything else was gone -- except for a hearse that was found untouched by the flames. Two front end loaders and an excavator with a claw were used to tear down the building.

Crews will spend the next week cleaning up the debris that will eventually end up on trucks that will move it to the Otis Road Landfill.

Road closures on Union Street were in place until just before 3 p.m.

Before the fire over the weekend, a fire was sparked at the building in February 2019. The abandoned building is often broken into by the homeless, looking for a place to stay warm during the winter months or sleep throughout the year.

The city confirmed 19 cases involving law enforcement over the last 10 years. Those cases include:

  • Nuisance (11)
  • Nuisance board up (2)
  • Nuisance: Graffiti (1)
  • Commercial (2)
  • Junk Vehicle (1)
  • Unsafe Structure (2)

City records show Robert J. Peeples, of Peeples Family Funeral Homes, owns the Union Street property. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment earlier this week.

The state fire marshal had been investigating the cause of Saturday’s fire, but no information has been released on the fire marshal’s findings.

The city confirmed the building was deemed condemned prior to a fire in June 2020 for a partial roof collapse. The city said the property owner would be taking action to demolish the structure and that he had been in contact with them.

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Cam shared photos of the fire captured by a drone in Downtown Jacksonville.

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