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Columbia Missourian

UPDATE: Vacant duplex catches fire, remains intact

By Rachel Post
April 7, 2010 | 5:02 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — When Regina Alexander first smelled smoke, she said she wondered where the smell was coming from. She soon discovered a fire had started in the vacant duplex adjacent to hers.

The Boone County Fire Protection District was dispatched at 9:17 a.m. Wednesday to 4602 Southview Drive. Firefighters arrived at the scene about four minutes later.

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Assistant Fire Chief Doug Westhoff said they quickly extinguished the fire, which began in the living room and was concentrated upstairs.

Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp said the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $50,000 in damage, is suspicious.

Westhoff said the cause of the fire is under investigation with efforts from the Boone County Fire Protection District, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Fire Marshal Office.

Blomenkamp said Alexander and her family have been displaced for at least Wednesday night and will receive aid from the Red Cross.

“There was some debris in the apartment that appears to have caught fire,” owner Steve Reichlin said. Reichlin, who has owned the property since 1990, received a call at the same time a neighbor called 911.

“Structurally, the building is intact,” Westhoff said. He said primarily cosmetic repairs will be necessary.

Reichlin said the duplex is insured.

Reichlin said another property of his caught fire in 1995.

“It gives you an opportunity to pause and reflect,” he said.

Blomenkamp said anyone with information about the cause of the fire should call 875-8477.