Fire believed suspicious, home total loss

An early morning house fire in Leadwood is believed to be suspicious and the State Fire Marshal’s Office was called to investigate.

Leadwood Assistant Fire Chief Charlie Lewis said they were called to the 500 block of West North St. at 1:39 a.m. Thursday for a house that was engulfed in flames.

“When we arrived the fire was coming from the basement and straight through the roof,” said Lewis. “It started in the basement and it was coming through the roof when got there. A police officer spotted it and called it in.”

Lewis said no one lived at the home, but someone had been working on it and it did have electric service hooked up. No one was there at the time of the fire. 

“We had to call Ameren out to cut the line down and I know there was a guy who was working on it,” said Lewis. “The home was a total loss. We couldn’t salvage water supply. The hydrants couldn’t keep up with us and by time we got tankers set up to supply water it was burned up pretty bad.”

Lewis said they were out there until about 6 a.m. Desloge, Big River, Bismarck, Farmington, Wolf Creek, Doe Run, Leadington and Potosi fire departments assisted at the fire and Jefferson R-7 and Goose Creek covered their firehouse.

“We called so many out to assist us for both manpower and tankers,” said Lewis. “We were having trouble getting enough manpower in the beginning. We did it all from the ground and never had to get a ladder off the truck. We were pretty lucky there.”

Lewis said the Leadwood Police Department requested the State Fire Marshal's Office to come out to investigate.

“He didn’t come out while we were there. I think he was going to try to come out during the day at some point,” said Lewis. “I would say it was suspicious because the guy who has been working on the house told a police officer a couple weeks ago that he was going to be out of town.”

Lewis said the house was in pretty rough shape so it’s hard to say. 

“We had one little minor injury. The wall fell and the wall didn’t hit him, but (a firefighter) tripped on something stepping back and hurt his shoulder a little bit,” said Lewis. “In a couple minutes he was over it and back to fighting fire.”

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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