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Laquey fire response delayed by snow
Laquey fire response delayed by snow

A Waynesville firefighter rushes to attack a blaze on Stockton Road off Highway NN east of Laquey on Wednesday morning.
LAQUEY, Mo. (Jan. 29, 2009) — A fire on a side road off Highway NN east of Laquey wrecked a house and left at least two adults without housing Wednesday morning.

Waynesville firefighters received a call at 11:17 a.m. that a house at 22830 Stockton had caught on fire. Response was delayed nearly 20 minutes by icy conditions and unplowed snow-packed roads; the first Waynesville unit didn’t arrive at the fire until 11:36 a.m. and by that time, one end the house was already in flames.

“The first engine on scene managed to make it through the snow of the unplowed road; they pulled up in the driveway and commenced an attack with the water in their tank. The second engine played a line into the first engine, pumped all of its water and then we waited for tankers,” Yurecko said. “Anytime you have slick roads, low temperatures and no adequate water supply from hydrants, it makes the attack a little harder.”

What began as moderate fire involvement at one end of the structure rapidly expanded, Yurecko said, but trouble getting water to the fire wasn’t the only problem; building construction techniques significantly complicated efforts to fight the fire.

“They put a roof on top of the original roof, and once the fire gets into the void space it is almost impossible to put out. It started out as a mobile home and then they added to it,” Yurecko said. “Anytime you have a mobile home fire, it’s a little harder to do things because of the metal roof. This was complicated by having a shingle roof on top of it, and it being cold and slick makes it a little harder.”

Waynesville firefighters initially responded with 15 firefighters on two engines, two tankers, a rescue truck, a brush truck and a command vehicle; eight St. Robert firefighters responded for backup with one engine, one tanker/pumper and one chief vehicle. As the house continued to burn, Yurecko issued a special alarm at 12:37 p.m. for more tankers; three Hazelgreen and two Crocker firefighters responded with one tanker from each fire district.

Laclede Electric linemen, Pulaski County Ambulance District paramedics and Red Cross volunteers also responded, along with Pulaski County Road and Bridge Department personnel who plowed the road so firefighters could get to the blaze. Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies also responded.

The fire was finally brought under control at 2:05 p.m. with the last firefighters leaving at 3:49 p.m., Yurecko said.

It’s not clear what caused the blaze, but initial indications point to an unattended wood stove.

“The fire was in an attached room of the trailer where there was a wood stove; that’s the area the fire started in and a lot of things point to the wood stove being the cause,” Yurecko said. “I don’t think anybody was home when the fire started; I think they came home and discovered it.”

The homeowner was Carl King, who lived on Stockton with his wife and possibly one other adult, Yurecko said.

Nobody was injured, Yurecko said, though the family pet, a small dog, was killed in the fire. Red Cross volunteers arranged emergency housing for the family.

Yurecko thanked Pulaski County Road and Bridge Department personnel for their assistance in clearing what until their arrival had been an unplowed road.

“Anytime you’ve got snow and ice on the road it will slow the response time considerably. Our trucks aren’t small little pickups that can run down almost any road; we want to make sure we don’t slide off and cause another problem,” Yurecko said. “We also are carrying water that does come out if we stop suddenly or turn corners so wherever we have been there is a slick spot.”

Eastern District County Commissioner Bill Farnham said a dispatching problem caused a delay in the response of the Pulaski County Road and Bridge Department.

“Apparently the 911 dispatcher thought Stocktown Road was in the western district,” Farnham said. “I called 911, said we'd respond, and we came from the Hickory Hills Baptist Church area up on Y Highway.”

Farnham responded with his road supervisor, Stan Crismon, and cleared Stockton Road so fire trucks could safely get in and out of the area.

The home was a total loss, Yurecko said.

Winter conditions present special problems in fighting fires, and Yurecko said residents should take precautions if they are using wood-burning heat.

“People should constantly check the condition of their flues and the pipes that connect their heating appliances to the flue,” Yurecko said. “Most flue fires can be contained in the flue if the flue is built soundly, but they are required to be cleaned regularly.”

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