Abandoned duplex in northeast Columbia burns down

Thursday, May 23, 2013 | 8:28 p.m. CDT
A fire leveled a building at North LaPorte Avenue and Sharidan Boulevard in northeast Columbia on Thursday afternoon. Neighbors said it was an unfinished structure that appeared to be abandoned.

COLUMBIA — Neighbors watched as an unfinished duplex behind 7710 Sharidan in northeast Columbia burned to the ground Thursday.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 4:20 p.m. Lieutenant Martina Pounds of the Boone County Fire Protection District said the Sheriff's Department was originally dispatched to the site of the fire for burglary. 

When the deputy arrived, the structure was still standing and the top floor was on fire, Pounds said.

Pounds said three engines, two tankers, a squad and a medic team were called in, the standard dispatch. Later, three more tankers and two engines were needed to help put out the fire, she said. No injuries were reported. 

The unfinished duplex had been abandoned for a while, Pounds said. Neighborhood teenagers saw other teenagers coming out of the building, which Pounds and neighbors said was not unusual. 

Billi Riley was in her home on Sharidan when a young neighbor knocked on her door.

"He started yelling, 'Get out! Your house is on fire!'" Riley said. "So I grabbed my 7-year-old and ran out the door."

Riley said a neighbor called 911. While the firefighters worked to put out the flames, Riley and her two children were waiting across the street before they could re-enter their home. The siding on Riley's building melted. 

Pounds said the investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

Supervising editor is Katie Moritz.

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