Fire in west-central Columbia causes $65,000 in damage

Saturday, August 25, 2012 | 5:11 p.m. CDT; updated 10:08 a.m. CDT, Monday, August 27, 2012
A firefighter extinguishes a fire at 306 Hirth Ave. on Saturday. Firefighters said a cigarette that was not properly disposed was the likely cause of the fire. No one was injured.

COLUMBIA — A fire caused an estimated $65,000 worth of damage to a west-central Columbia home Saturday morning.

Firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department spent about 25 minutes putting out a fire at 306 Hirth Ave. 

At 10:22 a.m. Saturday, firefighters received several calls from neighbors about the fire, said Columbia Assistant Fire Marshal, Lt. Brian Davison..

Homeowners Richard and Melissa Bass and their children, Mikel Bass, 18, and Carey Bass, 12, were not hurt. The family does have a cat, but they said they didn't think it was inside the house during the fire. 

Melissa Bass was at home when the fire began.

“The neighbors knocked on our house to let us know to get out of the house because there was a fire,” she said.

Carey was also in the house.

“I woke up and heard a big pop,” she said. “The front door wouldn’t open, and the neighbors kicked in a window to let us out.”

Both Richard and Mikel Bass were away from the house during the fire but came home after being alerted by family members.

A dozen or so neighbors offered support to the family and gathered around to watch as three fire engines,  a ladder truck and two command vehicles extinguished the fire. A rescue squad also responded.

Although the Bass family did have smoke alarms installed, they were not triggered because the fire started closer to the back porch of the home, where there were no detectors. The fire settled into the home’s attic, Capt. John Metz of the Fire Department said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but the Fire Department later sent a news release saying the blaze was the result of an improperly disposed cigarette.

The mid-Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross was finding a place for the family to stay Saturday night, Metz said. 

Supervising editor is Alison Matas.

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