This picture was taken minutes after we arrived on the scene and as you can see the frame of the home is still standing but fully engulfed.
Updated - Complete story
Berger, Mo. - Thanksgiving night at approximately 6:18 p.m. New Haven/Berger Fire Crews were initially dispatched for a flue fire but minutes after the initial dispatch crews were advised that flames could be seen shooting out of the roof. In less than 15 minutes the fire rapidly spread, engulfing the home in flames.
Six New Haven/Berger fire trucks responded along with two pumpers and two tankers from Washington and Hermann Fire Departments as well as one tanker from Beaufort/Leslie to Etlah Hill Road, located off of the eastern side of Highway B.
Assistant Fire Chief Brian Strubberg confirmed there were people home at the time of the fire but were able to escape without any injury.
Pictured right: Firefighters keep the fire from spreading to the truck before they were able to move it.
According to Strubberg the homeowner stated he started a fire in the basement of the “A” frame home and when he went to check on the fire it had begun burning inside the flue.
When Strubberg arrived on the scene the home was already fully engulfed in flames. “There was nothing we could do to save the structure other than prevent the fire from spreading. We were in defensive operations, just making sure to contain the fire.”
Strubberg said, “Our first crews on the scene began attacking the fire, keeping it from spreading to a truck near the home while neighbors helped us push it out of the way, preventing any further property damage.”
“Initially we also had a small brush fire that was caused by the burning embers that our initial crews were able to quickly extinguish.”
Strubberg also noted, “being in an area where there were no fire hydrants was the reason for additional apparatus, specifically tankers, needed to shuttle water.”
A total of 11 fire trucks from four departments and approximately 30 firefighters spent over three hours battling the blaze before the fire was safely extinguished.
Along with the homeowners there were no reports of any injuries.
I think it is important to point out that we should all be thankful for out local volunteer fire departments. On a night where most of them were spending time with their families for Thanksgiving, when their pagers went off out the door they went. The entire time I spent at the scene, I never once heard a single person complain about missing Thanksgiving Dinner.
Time lapsed video showing how quickly the fire spread.
Initial Story Friday at 10:30 p.m. - Earlier this evening four fire departments responded to Etlah Hill Rd. (located off of the eastern side of Highway B.) for a second alarm house fire. We did learn that there were people home at the time the fire started and were able to safely evacuate their residence.
At this time the cause is unknown.