Fire department battles one fire after another during busy week

Linda Trest

The Gerald-Rosebud Fire Department has seen a rash of fires in the past week. The fires were caused by a variety of reasons. The firemen responded to three structures in less than 36 hours. 

These began with a kitchen grease fire in a home in Hillside Trailer Park in the early morning hours Monday. Battalion Chief Sam Dorner told The Republican. That fire was pretty well extinguished before the department’s arrival on the scene. There was still heavy smoke inside the home for fire fighters to ventilate.

On Monday evening, the department responded to a fire on State Route Y that began with a lawn mower and spread to a nearby shed. 

Dorner said a man was hauling leaves on a trailer pulled behind a lawn mower when the mower back fired setting fire to the leaves. The flames spread to a nearby shed. While firemen were able to save the shed, the lawn mower, which was fairly new, was a total loss. Dorner said that less than an acre of ground was burned in the ensuing brush fire. 

The third structure fire was in the 3200 block of Old Highway 50 at 11:26 a.m. Tuesday. A passerby noticed the flames, called 911 and then alerted a man sleeping inside the shed which had been partially converted into living quarters. The man escaped the blaze with no injuries by crawling out a window.

While the shed was a total loss, fire fighters were able to keep the fire from spreading into the woods or to a nearby home. 

Fire Chief Ryan McCrary is out of the country. The deputy and assistant chiefs were both out of town at work when Tuesday’s call came in. That left Dorner, 703, to take charge of Tuesday’s fire. 

Owensville, Beaufort-Leslie, Sullivan and Union fire departments all provided personnel and tankers to help contain the blaze.

The scene was cleared at 2:45 p.m., but firemen still had gear to organize, trucks to fill and equipment to clean once they got back to the station. 

While the fire was listed as accidental, it will be under investigation to determine the cause. This is typical of occupied structure fires. 

Justin Haase, the assistant fire chief, says that conditions are currently too dry for anyone to be burning anything outdoors, Dorner agrees. 

Before burning, call Gasconade County E-911 at 573-764-5202 for a report on weather/burning conditions. Even Franklin County residents within the Gerald-Rosebud Fire Protection District should call this number. 

E-911 will then notify the department of the address for the controlled burn. 

Currently, it is too dry for any outside burning. 

Dorner had nothing but praise for the guys who answer the calls. They are all tired, they are all volunteers, they are all committed. “They are doing a great job,” he noted. 

In October, the department had no calls to fires,according to their website. They were kept busy assisting at six motor vehicle accidents, providing mutual aid for other departments five times and attending two EMS calls.