Owensville man, dogs left homeless on Thanksgiving

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 12/1/21

A mobile home fire south of Owensville on Thanksgiving morning resulted in 71 year-old Wendell Forrester and his five dogs being homeless for the holidays.

Forrester lives in the 3000 block of …

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Owensville man, dogs left homeless on Thanksgiving

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A mobile home fire south of Owensville on Thanksgiving morning resulted in 71 year-old Wendell Forrester and his five dogs being homeless for the holidays.

Forrester lives in the 3000 block of Farris Road. The call came in from a passing motorist.

“I don’t know what happened, I think it was electrical, but nobody will tell me,” Forrester said Tuesday afternoon. “I was sleeping in my truck and my dogs woke me up about 6 a.m. Thursday morning when the fire trucks showed up.”

Owensville Fire Chief Jeff Arnold said the call came in about 6:52 a.m. and the mobile home was completely engulfed in flames by the time they arrived.

“The area around it was so grown-up, the fire attacked hard,” Arnold said. “A guy met me at the top of the driveway and said if the guy’s truck was there he was home, that he sometimes slept in his tent or in his truck.”

Arnold said he drove down to the house first, but couldn’t find anywhere to park and had to turn around to drive back up the driveway. He checked the truck first and saw Forrester with his dogs.

“He said he was not awake when the fire started,” Arnold said. “He said it was easier to heat the truck or the tent than the mobile home and that he is on a fixed income.”

Crews fought the blaze until 9 a.m. with backup from the Hermann Volunteer Fire Department, Gerald Rosebud Fire Protection District, Bland Fire Protection District, Belle Fire Protection District, Owensville EMS and Gasconade County Sheriff Department.

The structure was deemed a total loss.

“The cause of the fire is unknown,” Arnold said. “No gas in the house, just electricity. Right now it is undetermined. It is not being investigated. There were no injuries and it was an older home.”

The American Red Cross came to assist.

Forrester told The Republican on Tuesday morning that he lost everything in the Nov. 25 fire.

“I need everything,” Forrester said. “I need clothes. Outside of cleaning up — I am 71-years-old, cleaning up out here will be a disaster for me. I can’t get nothing ‘till I get this mess cleaned. 

I am staying in a tent near the trailer with my dogs — Buddy, Bucky, Jackson, Bray and Chance. Sleeping in the truck. I’ve been sleeping in here for months. Trying to get enough heat in that trailer, it’s getting harder and harder.”

Forrester said he is going to need men’s pants size 34-32, white socks, kitchen supplies, pots, pans, styrofoam plates and plastic forks. St. Peter’s Church in Owensville has assisted him with coats and other clothing items and he was given 100 pounds of dog food.

“My biggest problem will be trying to get this trailer cleaned up,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to haul it, dump it and clean it up. That would be a big help to get that mess cleaned up.”

Forrester said his phone number is 573-241-1103 or to stop in at his tent located at 3841 Farris Road, Owensville.

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