UPDATE: Owner rescues dogs from north Columbia house fire

Thursday, February 16, 2012 | 7:59 p.m. CST; updated 9:36 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 16, 2012
Columbia firefighters clean up after putting out a structure fire at 5107 Hatteras Drive on Thursday. Homeowner Jeremy Spillman was about to walk in when the fire started. His family was out of the house at school or work, and no one was injured.

COLUMBIA — A second fire was discovered Thursday afternoon in a north Columbia home when firefighters returned to check on the house.

Earlier Thursday morning, Jeremy Spillman noticed smoke in the windows of his house at 5107 Hatteras Drive while he was leaving for the day. He ran in and rescued his two dogs from the basement before calling the Columbia Fire Department.

At 4:24 p.m., a fire engine returned to the north Columbia home as part of the station's policy to make sure there is no further threat. When the engine pulled up, the firefighters noticed smoke coming from the house. After entering, they discovered an additional fire had started and put it out.

On Thursday evening, it was determined that an undetected smoldering ember reignited the fire, Capt. John Metz said.

The first fire was determined to be electrical, Fire Inspector Lt. Shawn McCollom said.

The cost of smoke and fire damage to Spillman's home is estimated at about $200,000.

Spillman's wife and children were not at home. The family's pet bird was the only casualty.

McCollom determined that the fire began in the basement. He concluded that it was an electrical fire after ruling out all other possibilities. It was clear that the supports that held up the first floor of the house collapsed, and the floor itself had weakened, he said. The house is no longer habitable.

The Fire Department arrived within five minutes of the call Spillman made at 10:54 a.m. Firefighters had the fire under control in a half-hour, Metz said. Six firefighting units responded, including a ladder truck, three pump trucks and one unit from Boone County Fire Protection District.

Spillman said he is the original owner of the house, which was built within the past four years.

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