Backyard fire in Columbia likely caused by fireworks, official says

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 | 6:22 p.m. CDT; updated 10:14 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 4, 2012
A fire at 1716 Rose Drive damaged part of the owners' backyard and a shed.

COLUMBIA — A fire Wednesday afternoon damaged the backyard and part of a shed at a north Columbia house.

The fire started in the backyard of Terry and Beverly Hile's house at 1716 Rose Drive at about 2:30 p.m. It was most likely caused by fireworks, Columbia Fire Department Capt. Don Zielinski said.

None of the eight occupants of the house at the time were injured, Zielinski said. Three children inside the house were evacuated while the fire was being extinguished.  

The residents were first alerted to the fire by a person knocking on their front door, said the owners' son, Terry Hile Jr.

He said he ran out with a garden hose and began to extinguish the fire. The fire did not reach the house but left a patch of the backyard grass completely black and damaged a corner of the owners' shed. 

The Columbia Fire Department responded within 15 minutes of the call, Hile Jr. said.

The family had already extinguished the fire by the time firefighters arrived, Zielinski said.

Beverly Hile said they would not have known about the fire if someone hadn't told them. She said everyone was inside the house at the time resting. 

"It could've been worse," Beverly Hile said. 

The residents were not setting off fireworks Wednesday afternoon, Hile Jr. said. 

Setting off fireworks within city limits is illegal, Zielinski said.

Fireworks pose an increased risk for setting fires this year because of the unusually dry conditions in Boone County, according to previous Missourian reports.

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