Rented home catches fire, occupants displaced

Thursday, October 28, 2010 | 9:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – A home in northern Columbia caught fire Thursday evening.

Scott Olsen, Boone County Fire Protection District chief, said a woman and her two great-grandchildren were believed to be trapped in the house at 1606 E. Tower Drive when the fire started. He said the three had safely escaped by the time firefighters arrived after receiving a call at 5:23 p.m. Olsen said that the woman was affected by slight smoke inhalation but that she refused to go to the hospital. No one else was injured, he said.

Olsen said the woman rented the home with her husband, Ronald Stephenson, and said they did not have renters insurance. The fire was confined in the kitchen when responders arrived and took less than five minutes to put out, Olsen said.

Olsen said that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, and that responders found no smoke alarms in the home.

Olsen said the Fire District responded with six fire trucks, and the Columbia Fire Department assisted with one truck. He said there were a total of 24 firefighters on scene. Two ambulances from Boone Hospital Center also responded in the event people were trapped inside, Olsen said.

The first floor had moderate smoke damage and the occupants were displaced, Olsen said. He said the family is currently staying at the home of the children's mother and the Red Cross is working to find somewhere for the Stephenson couple to stay. The Fire District is working to salvage whatever it can from the home, Olsen said.

Olsen said the owners of the property had not been reached.

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