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Brookview blaze kills Waynesville woman early Tuesday morning
Brookview blaze kills Waynesville woman early Tuesday morning

Capt. Olaf Jensen and Lt. Dennis Smith use a Waynesville ladder truck to extinguish a Brookview Apartments blaze.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Sept. 29, 2009) — An early morning Tuesday fire sent emergency personnel to the Brookview Apartments for the second blaze in eight days, this time involving the death of a woman who lived in the bottom set of apartments closest to the apartment complex entrance.

According to County Corner Mikel Hartness, next-of-kin have been notified that Jimmie L. Turk, 58, was pronounced dead at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital. Waynesville Rural Fire Chief Doug Yurecko said she was transported from her apartment by Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel after having been found unconscious and unresponsive and suffering from severe smoke inhalation.

“The damage was confined mostly to the bed; she fell asleep smoking,” Yurecko said.

Dan Kallman, who has been assigned by Yurecko as spokesman for the incident, said the fire remains under investigation and the state fire marshal has been called.

Waynesville firefighters were paged to the blaze at 2:57 a.m. and remained on the scene until shortly before 5 a.m., when they turned the scene over to Waynesville police.

“The cause of death was smoke inhalation, but we haven’t gotten the finalized report from the fire investigator,” Kallman said. “By the time we had gotten here as the fire department, the fire had already put itself out. We went inside to check for fire spread through the walls and the ceilings.”

All eight apartments in the 700 apartment block were evacuated, Kallman said, and the Red Cross was called to provide assistance to affected families.

Other agencies assisting included the St. Robert Fire Department, he said.

Tuesday morning’s fire had no connection to a Sept. 21 blaze caused by a lightning strike in the 300 block of apartments that also led to the evacuation of eight apartments.

The Sept. 21 blaze was paged out about 4:30 p.m. and resulted in four fire departments responding. Waynesville firefighters arrived with three engines and a command vehicle; St. Robert and Crocker firefighters both sent one engine each, and Tri-County firefighters sent a pumper/tanker for backup coverage at the Waynesville fire station whose crew had to respond to two other incidents while the rest of the firefighters were at Brookview.

Yurecko said the flames were mostly confined to the exterior of the building but caused substantial damage to the outside as well as interior smoke damage.

“There was heavy smoke showing on the exterior and heat in the interior,” Yurecko said. “At the time we pulled in, both apartments on the south end of the 300 building were filled with smoke.”

Yurecko said his firefighters responded with an interior attack on the building coupled with use of exterior venting to reach the attic.

“We did cut a hole in the building on the south side to look for fire extension, and we did find fire in the attic,” Yurecko said. “We had that fire out within less than 10 minutes.”

Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control by 5:26 p.m. and left the scene shortly thereafter.

Pulaski County Ambulance District paramedics and Waynesville police also responded to the fire but no residents or emergency personnel required medical treatment.

Quick response by full-time firefighters — a fairly recent development in Waynesville — was key to saving the building, Yurecko said. Despite the bad road conditions due to a thunderstorm, the first firefighters arrived within four minutes of being called, he said.

“I can tell you that if we hadn’t had full-time firefighters in place at the station, this outcome would have been completely different,” Yurecko said. “The roof would have been totally involved by the time we arrived.”

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