Before volunteer firemen from four area departments could arrive 23 minutes later, the front portion of two-story frame structure, originally constructed in 1897, was a ball of fire. The fire was reported at 11:24 a.m. Jan. 20.
Meyer, his girlfriend, Bobbie Darian, and his 9-year-old grandson, Logan Sparks, all escaped the developing inferno without injury. Their possessions were destroyed except for some quilts which were found beneath a heavily damaged table unit, according to Tammy Sparks, Meyer’s daughter. “They were damaged but at least there was something salvageable,” said Sparks. “Grandma made them.”
The home was owned by Meyer’s daughter, Brenda Gould. Sparks said there had been some electrical upgrades made over the years. Meyer said five additions had been made to the house over the years. He had lived there for the past four years.
“I heard a loud popping noise in the wall,” said Meyer. “I went outside and fire and smoke was coming out of the upstairs windows.”
Meyer was able to save a camper trailer, parked beside the east side of the residence, by chaining it up to a pickup truck and dragging it out of the yard and onto the county road.
A column of thick, black smoke was visible from the intersection of Highway 28 and Route B — 10 miles away outside of Bland — within 15 minutes of the initial call.
Firemen continuously dealt with a lack of water supply as they fought the blaze. Firemen shuttled water from the water tower behind the Bland fire station, a 22-mile round trip, during the effort to extinguish the blaze. Firemen were on the scene until after 4 p.m. Sunday. Sparks said firemen were called back to the scene Monday evening and spent “couple of hours” to extinguish the rekindle.
Mark Davis, deputy chief with the Bland Fire Protection District said the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s investigator “was not called to the scene because the fire was not suspicious. The homeowner was there at the time. I did not see any reason to rule it a suspicious fire. He heard a noise in the wall and when he went to investigate there were flames in the second story, and, the second story is now in the first floor.”
The home had an outdoor wood-burning furnace but it was located on the opposite side of the house from where the fire apparently began.
“I didn’t see anything suspicious in nature,” Davis added. “Accidental in nature, I guess you’d call it.”
Sparks said her father and his girlfriend had found temporary lodging with friends. The American Red Cross provided them with two outfits of clothing and some shoes along with some money for meals and other necessities.
Meyer’s grandson lost his winter coat and shoes in the blaze along with several items of clothing he had at the residence for his weekend visits. Logan wears a size 7 1/2 shoe and a 16-18 coat. He wears 14-16 shirts and 14 pants.
Meyer wears 40 waist by 32-inch inseam pants, 2XL shirts and size 13 shoes. Darian is a size 6 shoe, 9-10 women’s pants and XL shirts. Donations of clothing may be made by contacting Meyer at (573) 466-9056 or Sparks at (573) 789-4763.
Sparks said they will eventually need furniture and kitchen utensils once they find a new place to live.
“They lost everything,” said Sparks.
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