Fire units from Columbia and Boone County assist with Linn Creek fire

Friday, January 6, 2012 | 2:22 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Firefighters from Columbia and Boone County answered a call for regional aid Thursday after a fire broke out at a manufacturing plant in Linn Creek.

A firefighting company from Columbia and one from Boone County responded to the call for assistance after the Woodland Scenics facility, which produces scenery pieces for model railroads, caught fire. The factory is the largest employer in the town.

No one was injured in the fire, but about a third of the complex was destroyed.

Both the city and county are part of a state-wide agreement for mutual aid, which is broken into individual regions. Columbia's region includes Boone County and Camden County, where Linn Creek is, along with 11 other counties. The coordinator for Region F is Columbia Fire Chief Charles Witt, who orchestrated Thursday's regional response.

Such a request for assistance from outside the county is rare, said Gale Blomenkamp, battalion chief for the Boone County Fire Protection District.

"It's got to be a large, significant event that taxes your resources," he said.

In this case, the structure on fire was about the size of a city block. Firefighters from several cities and counties responded to the mutual aid alert with more than 27 firefighters in all.

Both county and city firefighters at the site helped with "overhaul," which consists of salvage, demolishing damaged areas and checking for hidden fires after the main blaze has cleared. "Basically making sure the fire is out," said Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Sapp.

Boone County firefighters also were on hand for support in Linn Creek, should a fire have started anywhere else in the town at the time of the Woodland Scenic fire. "They still got a community they have to serve," Blomenkamp said.

Boone County's unit was released from Linn Creek at 6:30 p.m. and Columbia firefighters returned after 10 p.m.

None of the Boone County or Columbia firefighters were injured. The cause of the fire still hasn't been determined.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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