Fire destroys trailer home on Kirsten Lane, kills cat

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | 5:10 p.m. CDT; updated 6:21 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 14, 2010
University Hospital EMS personnel tend to Vinny Barbieri after his trailer caught fire Tuesday afternoon. The source of the fire was unknown as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, said Scott Olsen, chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District.

COLUMBIA — A fire burned through a trailer home in northern Columbia on Tuesday afternoon. 

Fire crews first arrived at the scene, located at 4700 N. Kirsten Lane, at about 1:45 p.m., said Scott Olsen, chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District. By the time fire crews arrived, flames had consumed about 50 percent of the home.


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Both the Fire District and the Columbia Fire Department responded to the emergency and were able to contain the fire in about 15 minutes, Olsen said. Seven trucks and 21 people responded to the scene.

The University Hospital Ambulance Service responded to provide medical aid.  Homeowner Vinny Barbieri, 61, received a medical evaluation on the scene but refused medical treatment. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Olsen said the fire department has several leads.

Barbieri was in the home when the fire first started. He said he smelled something burning and then went to put something in his shed. When he returned, he said, it looked like his phone was burning. The fire then spread to his cabinets.

Barbieri said he tried to use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, but the extinguisher would not work. He then ran to his bathroom and used the shower to wet towels, which he said he threw onto the fire to try to extinguish it. 

Barbieri lived in the home alone and did not have insurance. His wife lives in Ashland.

Barbieri did have a cat living with him. The cat was found dead in the back bedroom of the home following the fire, said Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp of the Fire Protection District.

Firefighters helped Barbieri bury the cat at the scene. 

Carmen White, a neighbor who called 911, said Barbieri went back into the trailer several times looking for the cat. 

“I’m just glad he’s OK,” White said. 

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