UPDATE: Fire at war widow's home was intentional, officials suspect

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | 4:02 p.m. CST; updated 4:21 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The remnants of a home gym that was destroyed in an early morning fire in a home on Dickinson Court are just a minor part of the damage caused by the fire. The Columbia Fire Department thinks the fire was set intentionally and that the home was burglarized.

COLUMBIA — A fire that heavily damaged a Columbia home Wednesday morning was the latest setback for the family that lived there.

The fire, which investigators think was intentionally set, caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to the house of Samantha Baker Fitzmorris at 2107 Dickinson Court, near Brown School and Oakland Gravel roads in northeast Columbia.

John Baker, Fitzmorris' father, said his daughter left Tuesday for Colorado Springs, Colo., to visit friends. Her son, Joshua, 5, and daughter, Mykenzee, 3, were in Alabama visiting their late father’s family, Baker said this morning at the scene.

Fancy, the Fitzmorrises' pit bull, died in the garage of smoke inhalation.

Fitzmorris is the widow of Steven Fitzmorris. Baker said Steven Fitzmorris died in August 2008 in Baghdad while serving in the Army.

Samantha Baker Fitzmorris is a Columbia native and an alumna of Hickman High School, Baker said.

Capt. Eric Hartman of the Columbia Fire Department said there were “significant indications that the house was burglarized.”

Baker said a flat-screen television had been ripped from the wall of his daughter's bedroom.

Police spokeswoman Jessie Haden said the fire was reported at about 4 a.m. by a police officer. Six fire trucks, an ambulance and 20 firefighters responded.

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T K December 30, 2009 | 4:26 p.m.

Someone please arrest this ingnorant woman for animal abuse - going on vacation and leaving her dog in the garage? Unacceptable.

(Report Comment)
Katherine Oriez December 30, 2009 | 5:16 p.m.

The information regarding how the dog was being cared for along with more will be in an upcoming article on the

(Report Comment)
Rosemarie Currier December 30, 2009 | 9:24 p.m.

She did not go on vacation and leave the dog in the garage. John was taking care of the dog at the house. Do not comment when you do not have the facts.

(Report Comment)

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