Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story reported the incorrect address for the house fire. Also, Fire Chief Phil Johnston provided an update to correct his previous report that an occupant of the house was outside when emergency crews arrived. The house was being remodeled into seven apartments.
Story by Ellen Becker and Nicole Cooke–
(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – A fire at 709 S. Holden is under investigation after a call from a neighbor came in at 3:10 Sunday morning.
There were no injuries other than one firefighter that was taken to the hospital for dehydration as a precaution.
Three engines, one rescue vehicle and two chiefs responded to the scene. All off-duty Warrensburg Fire Department personnel were requested to respond. About 25 firefighters were on the scene.
The fire started in the attic and spread to both floors of the home. Flames could be seen coming through the roof.
Firefighters had to evacuate the structure after beams began falling inside. They reported hearing the second floor collapse.
The crew removed the hazards from the outside and returned to the interior of the home.
“Safety is our main concern,” said Battalion Chief Dale Parsons. “For every firefighter inside, there is one outside waiting to rescue them in case of an emergency.”
The home was built using an older construction technique known as balloon framing, which means the studs run from bottom to top.
With this type of construction, the flames spread quickly from bottom to top because there is nothing in between to stop the fire, Parsons said.
The WFD aerial ladder truck was set up on the back side of the house because power lines were obstacles at the front of the scene.
A KCP&L crew arrived to disconnect electrical service, a standard practice in situations like this.
At least one Missouri State Highway Patrol unit was also on the scene to help with traffic control.
The firefighters faced several hazards, including a winter temperature of 14 degrees, which caused the water to freeze on the street.
By 5:20 a.m., crews had the fire under control and began reviewing the interior.
Firefighters were in the basement trying to figure out the cause of the fire. Limited manpower was then sent in to put out hot spots.
Around 6 a.m., crews applied Class A foam to selected areas of the building to gain full extinguishment. Class A foam aids fire suppression and can prevent the fire from reigniting.
The cause of the fire remains unknown. Parsons said that they would stay on the scene for several more hours to monitor the situation.