S T. COUNTY OF CHARLES, MO – Lifeguards in St. Charles County are begging homeowners for damaged flooded homes not to burn them. Investigators believe that a fire they worked this week was set to get rid of flood debris.
More than 20 firefighters and six fire trucks spent more than two hours extinguishing a fire that overcame an empty and flood-damaged house on the first block of Grove Avenue, along Highway B in St. Charles County.
When fire and rescue teams from Central County arrived on the scene just before midnight, they found a small single-family house completely engulfed in fire. They determined that the structure had recently been damaged by flooding and was empty. There were also no residents in the building and all public services had been disconnected.
After a flood authority says that it is not uncommon for homeowners to try to dispose of damaged property by setting fire to these houses.
“This is not the appropriate method to remove damaged buildings or debris, and these fires create a dangerous situation for neighbors and first responders. We would prefer that property owners work through the process of proper mitigation of cleanup after a flood, ”said CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown.
Due to a large amount of fire and damage to the building, firefighters made a defensive attack to extinguish the fire. The CCFR firefighters were assisted by the City of St. Charles Fire Department, the Orchard Farm Fire Protection District, the St. Charles County Ambulance District and the St. Charles County Police.
Investigators believe the fire was not accidental, "what makes it suspicious is that we eliminate all accidental causes, there are no public services, no gas or electricity in the building and empty buildings and buildings like that don't catch fire," he said. Brown
An assistant to the chief says that after the flood of & # 39; 93, some owners tried to get rid of the rubble by setting fire to the houses: "What we learn in the history of the flooding of 93 houses was abandoned or beyond the repair, some people considered it better to set the structure on fire to get rid of the debris or to reduce the cost of tearing it down or dragging it in. The problem is that for the fire district we dedicate 6 personal fire trucks 24 and tied them for two hours to half night for a building that had no value for that, there is a proper way to eliminate these structures and this is not the way, "Brown said.
Due to the extreme damage to the structure, fire investigators were unable to enter to determine the origin of the fire.