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Leaves cited as cause of fire

Friday, December 2, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:34 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An early morning fire caused $600,000 in damage to a house in southern Boone County on Thursday, according to Boone County Fire Protection District Capt. Gale Blomenkamp. The fire appeared to have been caused by leaf embers blown against the garage after a shift in wind direction.

Sam Chou, a co-owner of Grindstone Brewing Co., was burning piles of leaves on his 30-acre lot on Wednesday afternoon, but the smoldering embers continued to burn throughout the evening. Open leaf burning is legal in Boone County.

Thirty firefighters from the Boone Fire Protection District and 15 fire trucks battled raging flames and heavy smoke in 25 mph winds inside the timber constructed home at 9284 Tomlin Hill Road, Blomenkamp said.

Chou and his mother were asleep when smoke detectors rang throughout the home. They escaped just after 3:30 a.m., and firefighters responded to the scene within 14 minutes. Chou’s wife and young son were not home at the time of the fire and nobody was injured.

The fire was under control in less than one hour, but fire investigators remained at the scene for nearly eight hours assessing the damage and trying to find out how the fire started.

The 6,300-square-foot home, built in 1969, will be hard to rebuild without starting over, Blomenkamp said.

Chou recently put the home and 30-acre property up for sale. It is listed for $745,000 by House of Brokers Realty.

Chou could not be reached Thursday.


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