Family safe after house fire on Derby Ridge

Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 6:33 p.m. CST; updated 10:43 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 25, 2010
Firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department stand on the back deck of a house at 4117 Derby Ridge Drive on Thursday. The Fire Department arrived on scene to find flames visible from the back of the house, which was occupied by a family of five with three small children.

COLUMBIA A family of five was safe Thursday evening after a fire broke out at their home on the corner of Derby Ridge Drive and Smiley Lane. Megan Hane said she was at parent-teacher conferences across the street at Derby Ridge Elementary, when the fire started.

The Columbia Fire Department responded to a call at 5:15 p.m. to find heavy flames and smoke coming out of the rear of the home. Eight firetrucks and one ambulance were on the scene. The fire was under control within 15 minutes, Capt. Eric Hartman said.

Homeowners Jeremy Crane and Megan Hane and their three children, one 3-year-old and two 6-year-olds, stood nearby as firefighters cleared out the house.

There was substantial damage to the home but Hartman said he thought it would not be a total loss.  The cause of the fire was still under investigation Thursday night.

Derby Ridge Drive was closed south of Smiley Lane, and Smiley was confined to one lane at Derby Ridge on Thursday night.

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Jim Bushart February 25, 2010 | 11:27 p.m.

Thanks to Rep Mike Parson for MO HB 1714 which will bring building codes to all of Missouri and save lives.

One of the biggest problems facing rural Missouri in its areas where there are presently no building codes is the poor ISO ratings of the local fire departments.

On a scale of 1 to 10, one being the "best" and 10 being "no fire department at all", many rural fire departments are rated between 6 and 8 on the ISO scale.

This low rating is measured by evaluating the department's record in arrival times at the scene from the time the fire is called in, the quality of training and equipment, and the availability of a consistent and lengthy flow of water.

Now...when you look at how poorly the rural fire departments are rated in their abilities to fight fires....consider that there are presently no standards or codes by which a person is expected to apply to electrically wire a building. Anyone can do it and no one inspects it when the person who wires it is finished.

When you look at the lack of minimum basic standards, no follow-up inspection by a qualified inspector, and a poorly rated fire is easier to understand why so many houses in rural Missouri are burning to the ground - often with sleeping families being burned to death inside them.

I applaud Rep Parson for his actions of sneaking this new bill, that will require a building standard to be applied throughout the state, right past the noses of all of the people who have fought so hard to keep building codes out of these parts of the state.

He did it by writing a bill that ingeniously omits any reference to "building codes" but provides for licensed inspectors who will be provided (by a licensing board) with a consistent "standard" to apply in every inspection. Inspectors who miss reporting any "defects" that are not consistent with this new "standard" can actually lose their license.

These Missouri licensed officials will be required to make their reports accessible to insurance carriers, attorneys and state agencies for a minimum period of five years.

The bill leaves the selection of the building codes that will be enforced up to the inspector, himself, unless they are on the books in the jurisdiction which he is inspecting or are later provided by the Licensing Board.

This is a great first step in providing protection to all Missouri citizens in spite of many previously successful attempts at keeping building codes out of state law.

Congratulations to Rep Mike Parson of Bolivar, MO., for having the courage to do what is right in spite of popular opinion.

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