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Saturday night fire leaves southeastern Columbia home uninhabitable

Sunday, November 24, 2013 | 8:10 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — It took firefighters almost three hours to put out an attic fire that left a home on the 4500 block of Ravens Ridge Road uninhabitable Saturday night.

Nobody was injured, but the fire caused between $380,000 and $400,000 in damage, said Capt. Martina Pounds of the Boone County Fire Protection District, who was at the scene.

After the homeowner heard a crackling noise coming from the walls, he went outside to investigate and discovered smoke and flames on the roof, Pounds said. He then brought his wife and three children outside and called 911 at approximately 8:40 p.m. 

Engines, tankers, a heavy rescue squad and a medical unit from both the Columbia Fire Department and the Fire District were called to the southeastern Columbia house. Between 20 and 25 emergency personnel responded to the scene, Pounds said.

"By the time we arrived the fire went through pretty much the whole roof," she said.

The fire began near the attic, but the cause of the fire is unknown.

"Luckily the homeowners heard something because the smoke detectors didn't go off for a while," Pounds said. "Most people don't have smoke detectors in their attic, which is kind of scary because you could be sleeping and have your whole attic on fire before you even notice it." 

The initial blaze left the home uninhabitable, and firefighters had to remove most of the ceiling, insulation and dry wall from the house to prevent the fire from rekindling, Pounds said.

However, the fire started again after the crews left last night. A member of the Boone County Sheriff's Department noticed smoke and flames at the house around 5 a.m. Sunday morning and called the Fire District. 

Firefighters were able to put out the second fire quickly, Pounds said.

"Usually we try to get everything, but on an attic fire unfortunately there's a lot of insulation that could catch on fire," she said. "An ember could've drifted over and smoldered on insulation until it caught on fire."

The family is currently staying in a hotel paid for by their insurance. It will take at least three months before they can live in their house again, Pounds said.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.


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