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Duplex sustains massive damage in second fire in 24 hours

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | 5:25 p.m. CDT; updated 1:23 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — A second fire in 24 hours at a north Columbia duplex early Wednesday morning sent firefighters to 2606 B Quail Drive shortly before 4:30 a.m.

When fire units arrived on the scene, they discovered heavy fire coming from the roof of the duplex, a Fire Department release said.

The fire began in the attic above the kitchen. The release said fire investigators determined it was caused by smoldering insulation from a kitchen fire that occurred on the other side of the duplex, 2606 A Quail Drive, around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Columbia Fire Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said a neighbor saw the second fire and called 911 at 4:28 a.m.

“We had three engines, a ladder truck, a rescue squad and about four or five staff vehicles,” Sapp said.

The release said the fire was “knocked down” in 20 minutes.

The occupants — James Burkes, 47, Montalee Burkes, 44, and their son, Michael Linzi Hayes, 11 — were asleep at the time of the fire and were awakened by neighbors knocking on the front door, the release said.

No one was injured.

The fire Tuesday in side A of the duplex was started by a stove burner that occupant Sherma Hawkins, 51, left on when she left the house, Sapp said.

Hawkins told fire investigators that she left home thinking she had turned it off. The fire was discovered by Hayes, who heard a smoke alarm going off and informed his mother. It was the second unattended kitchen fire to occur there in five months, according to a city of Columbia release.

The smoke alarms in both apartments worked, however in the second incident the smoke didn’t reach the alarms quickly enough to alert the family, Sapp said.

“The heat and smoke were confined to the attic and vented upwards,” Sapp said.

The release said the damage to the entire duplex, which includes the structure and the contents, is estimated to be between $200,000 and $250,000.

The Boone County Chapter of the American Red Cross is providing both families with shelter as well as clothing and food vouchers, Sapp said.


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