November 4, 2010

Fire Destroys Memphis Property Tuesday Morning

An unoccupied Memphis residence was destroyed by an early-morning fire on November 2nd.

The blaze at 641 North Clay Street (Highway 15) was first reported by a 911 call at 12:15 a.m. The call went into the Schuyler County dispatch, which notified Scotland County dispatch to page the Memphis Fire Department.

Firemen responded to the scene to find flames erupting from the south side of the structure, a rental property that currently has no tenants.

Initial efforts were able to control the fire at the portion of the exterior of the building, but flames had already spread into the attic of the home. Modifications to the building's roof(s) made it difficult for firemen to douse the flames that quickly spread through the confined space between the ceiling and roof.

Efforts were hampered by the fact that the fire hydrant on the property had recently been damaged when dirt work was being performed by the property owner, taking the water source out of service and forcing firemen to use a hydrant several blocks away.

Firemen were aided by the use of the city electric department's lift truck, which was on the scene to disconnect power to the building. The lift was used to elevate a hose team above the home to battle the fire in the roof area, as the interior of the building had become unsafe due to threat of collapse of the roof.

The fire department was on the scene for more than three hours.

The Missouri Fire Marshall's Office was scheduled to review the scene Tuesday afternoon in an effort to establish a cause of the blaze.

The fire appeared to have started in the area surrounding a stove or heating system in the center of the south wall of the home but no official cause had been announced as of press time.

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