Separate fires this weekend destroyed a home and two large dog kennels resulting in the loss of 14 dogs.

Firefighters responded to a call at 2:44 p.m. Saturday reporting two large dog kennels on fire at 7328 Highway D.

Big River/Bonne Terre Fire Chief Dave Pratte said the owners were home at the time of the fire and three of the dogs managed to get out. He said the kennels were a complete loss and they believe 14 dogs died. The owner had minor injuries to his hand.

"It appeared to have been started by a space heater," Pratte said. "There were multiple space heaters heating the building.”

“Please if you have supplement heating elements such as space heaters be very aware of the situation with them," Pratte said. "Especially with space heaters in the house. They are very very dangerous and I realize people have to have them sometimes to supplement their heat but they really need to pay attention how they place them and make sure to not leave their house with them on or leave the room with them on.”

Pratte wanted to remind the community that if you have to use extension cords, use heavy duty ones, keep an eye on them and do not place them under rugs.

“Right now it is so critical with everyone trying to stay warm,” Pratte said.

Pratte said that most of the problems he sees are human error that can be avoided.

Emergency personnel were on the scene for nearly two hours.

Assisting Big River/Bonne Terre were Park Hills Fire Department, Farmington Fire Department, Goose Creek Fire Department, Leadington Fire Department, Desloge Fire Department, De Soto Rural Fire Department and St. Francois County Ambulance District. 

Firefighters responded to a house fire at 9:47 p.m. Friday on Horse Collar Bluff.

Pratte said no one was home at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

“The home was totally consumed in fire upon fire department arrival,” Pratte said.

The cause of the fire is unknown. The state fire marshal's office will be investigating to try to determine a cause. 

Firefighters were on scene for two and a half hours.

Assisting Big River-Bonne Terre were Farmington Fire Department, Lake Timberline Fire Department, Desloge Fire Department, De Soto Rural Fire Deparment, Park Hills Fire Department was moved up and Goose Creek Fire Department was called but dismissed before arrival. The St. Francois County Sheriffs Department, St. Francois County Ambulance District and the State Fire Marshal' Office were also on scene. 

Freezing temperatures at both fires added additional obstacles for firefighters.

"Trucks were trying to freeze up," Pratte said. "We had to keep an eye on our trucks and hoses and drain them before we could leave the scene."

Firefighters and other responders on the scene were careful to watch for water dripping from the hoses on the tankers which was freezing on the ground, making for very slippery conditions.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or