Crematorium fire backs up traffic

Friday, December 29, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:42 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

Traffic was backed up at the intersection of Tenth and Walnut streets for about 30 minutes Thursday afternoon while firefighters responded to a small fire at a crematorium.

Bruce Rice, the general manager of Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St., said a body was being cremated when flammable liquids leaked from the crematory onto the concrete floor. There were no injuries, Rice said.

The fire took only a few minutes to extinguish, said Battalion Chief Steven Sapp of the Columbia Fire Department.

“We understood there wasn’t any danger,” Sapp said. “We were in a standby mode.”

Rice said the Fire Department stayed on to help ventilate dry chemical fumes caused by the extinguisher that he used to put out the fire.

Rice said all Parker Funeral Service employees are trained in the use of fire extinguishers although fires at the facility are rare. “The last time this ever happened was 10 years ago,” Rice said.

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