Early morning fire destroys farmhouse

Friday, December 1, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

A fire demolished a two-story farmhouse in Boone County early Thursday morning, but no one was injured.

Firefighters from the Boone County Fire Protection District responded at 3:15 a.m., and by the time they arrived at Stephen Knoll’s building at 6351 E. Bass Lane the house was engulfed in flames.

“There was fire on all four sides and it was partially collapsed, which means it was burning for quite some time before it was noticed,” said Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp.

Twenty-five firefighters fought the fire for nearly three hours, but Blomenkamp said all that remains of the building is a portion of a wall and two of the home’s three chimneys.

“I can’t even tell the color of the house because the destruction was so bad,” Blomenkamp said.

Initially, Blomenkamp said firefighters were worried there was someone inside the home. But after talking to a neighbor, they were told that if there was not a car in the driveway then it meant Knoll was away.

Firefighters were able to get in contact with Knoll, who was driving down to Arkansas for a meeting, at about 8 a.m., Blomenkamp said.

“He had left last night to get ahead of the weather, but he turned around and started back, and arrived back this afternoon at around 1:30 p.m.,” Blomenkamp said.

Knoll did own three dogs and five cats, but Blomenkamp said he only saw a few of the animals on the scene.

“When we arrived the dogs were out and we saw two or three cats,” Blomenkamp said. “But it’s unsure if he got all the cats.”

Blomenkamp said an investigation into the cause of the fire is under way, but because the extent of the damage was so great, he doubts it will be possible to make an exact determination. However, Blomenkamp said it does not appear that the fire was set on purpose.

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