Fire in Homeless Camp "Severely Burns" Two

4 years 10 months 2 weeks ago January 18, 2012 Jan 18, 2012 Wednesday, January 18 2012 Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:58:00 PM CST in News
By: Meghann Mollerus

COLUMBIA - A tent fire at a homeless camp late Tuesday night leaves two people recovering from serious burns at University Hospital.  Just before midnight, Columbia firefighters responded to the America's Best Value Inn Motel on Providence Road, where they found a man with serious burns in the lobby.  

The motel's clerk on duty, Charlie Kious, said he did not make the initial call for help.  David Shankle, a motel guest staying in a room near the lobby, said officers were at the motel for only five minutes before heading across the street to Vandiver Drive.  That's where they found, at the back of the parking lot, a badly-burned woman in the back of a shed.  Columbia Fire Captain John Metz said an ambulance arrived within five minutes to treat both burn victims.  The shed is bordered by woods, where officers speculate there is a temporary homeless camp.

Investigators have not released the victims' names but the 40-year-old man and the 30-year-old woman are being treated at University Hospital.  Metz said he is unclear of their relation to each other.  However, he did say the two were "seriously burned."  Lieutenant Debbie Sorrell of Columbia Fire has launched an investigation into the incident and was at the hospital Wednesday interviewing the victims.  

Metz said for now, he cannot speculate on the cause of the tent fire. However, Shankle, who said he used to be homeless and live in an outdoor camp in Columbia, suggested the fire was most likely an accident. "Most [homeless] guys are street smart.  They know you're not supposed to set a fire close to a tent, but it was pretty breezy last night.  If you didn't keep warm, you would have froze to death last night," he said.

Shankle said despite Columbia's homeless shelters, many homeless individuals in the area continue to sleep outside, even in winter's most frigid temperatures. He said, "Shelters get full. Absolutely, it's a given.  I know guys who have gone into treatment just to stay warm."

Major Kendall Mathews, Regional Coordinator for the Salvation Army of Mid-Missouri, said there is plenty of room at the local shelters.  The Salvation Army Harbor House on Ann Street has 15 "cold cot" beds, in addition to the rooms provided for individuals and families who have opted to enter the shelter's work program.  Mathews said when the 15 beds are full each night, the shelter refers people to the other shelters in Columbia or the Jefferson City Salvation Army shelter, to which transport is provided. 

Mathews said the tent fire perhaps can be a turning point for battling homelessness in Mid-Missouri.  "I think that this incident should pull our resources together from different other human service agencies here in Columbia and Mid-Missouri. Let's talk about this. Maybe we should have an open workshop or open forum here at the Salvation Army where we talk about what the issues are with the homeless people here in the community. Maybe we invite the homeless people [and ask] how can we help you? That's something we will pursue." 

KOMU will provide updated information about the condition of the victims and the determined cause of the fire when it becomes available. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Around 10 a.m. Saturday, a man driving his car northbound near Highway 63 and Stadium flipped over. No... More >>
2 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 11:38:33 AM CST in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have struggled to find a way to pay for repairs along thousands of miles... More >>
2 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 10:59:00 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri is seeing a startling decline in methamphetamine lab seizures, but it isn't because users are... More >>
3 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 10:50:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Women's Symphony League kicked off the annual Holiday Home Tour, which is its biggest fundraiser of the... More >>
9 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 4:12:00 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY- The Jefferson City Fire Department responded to reports of smoke coming from a building in the 200 block... More >>
9 hours ago December 03, 2016 Dec 3, 2016 Saturday, December 03 2016 Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:57:00 AM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Following the election of Donald Trump, some students gathered for what they called a "positivity event". KOMU sent... More >>
18 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 7:05:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are proposing bills that would make attacking a law enforcement officer a hate crime.... More >>
20 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 4:51:13 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are proposing bills that would make Missouri a right-to-work state. The Springfield News-Leader... More >>
21 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 4:46:41 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former Kansas City, Missouri, man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his... More >>
21 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 4:23:47 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Nixon and his wife Georganne kicked off the holiday season in the state's capital with Friday's... More >>
22 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:36:00 PM CST in News
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — A Missouri man who spent eight years behind bars for murder has been acquitted in a... More >>
22 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:26:56 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities said fireworks that were mistaken for gunshots led to a standoff near Rockhurst University. ... More >>
22 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:09:14 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The former general manager of a suburban St. Louis car dealership is accused of defrauding the... More >>
22 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:05:38 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The incoming president of the University of Missouri System and officials attending a welcoming ceremony in... More >>
22 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00:15 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A $2,000 donation will help protect South Callaway residents from potentially deadly house fires. Safeco Insurance's Protecting... More >>
22 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 2:52:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Fulton woman has pleaded guilty to money-laundering related to distributing synthetic cannabinoids, or K2, at businesses... More >>
23 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 2:45:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia Housing Authority announced today the plan to renovate 90 units in the coming years. The... More >>
23 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 2:15:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities said a Kansas City man who stole a firearm from a homicide victim has been... More >>
23 hours ago December 02, 2016 Dec 2, 2016 Friday, December 02 2016 Friday, December 02, 2016 2:01:43 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
2pm 44°
3pm 44°
4pm 44°
5pm 42°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:30p
PGA Tour Golf
4:00p
Skiing
5:00p
Jeopardy!
1:00p
Heartland
2:00p
The King of Queens
2:30p
The King of Queens

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
It's a Wonderful Life
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld