Fire in Homeless Camp "Severely Burns" Two

6 years 8 months 1 day ago Wednesday, January 18 2012 Jan 18, 2012 Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:58:00 PM CST January 18, 2012 in News
By: Meghann Mollerus
loading

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
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department was on the scene of a double shooting Wednesday afternoon. Police... More >>
15 minutes ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Some people living in Columbia's southside neighborhoods say thieves, using creative technology, are stealing from cars. Haley... More >>
47 minutes ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As Welcome Home marks the first anniversary of its new shelter, a once drug-addicted veteran is artfully finding... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:19:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON- After the State Auditor's report that more local money could go to domestic violence shelters, one survivor reiterated the... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Wednesday morning firefighters burned a simulated dorm room burn on the MU campus to show students how quickly... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:13:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY – Cole County ended its economic development contract with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. The... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former prosecutor and chairman of Missouri's Democratic Party has been sentenced to two years and... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department ruled a Wednesday morning fire as suspicious. There were no injuries, but the... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As rivers are still rising in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, donations are also flooding in. However,... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A Kansas City man has pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of another man at a trailer... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:51:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The search for Missouri's next top education official has begun. The State Board of Education... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:24:10 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON - UPDATE: Police have found the two boys who escaped from the Division of Youth Services. Police said... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:38:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
HOWARD COUNTY - Two people are dead and two others injured after a crash on Highway 87 Tuesday afternoon. ... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:51:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Anthony Martin died in a crash in Cooper County on Sunday after losing control of his motorcycle.... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:57:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A Columbia woman was taken to the Lake Regional Hospital on Sunday after a crash involving a... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:39:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Bird scooters will be discussed at the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:15:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA -- The mayor of Columbia's task force on Climate Action and Adaptation planning could recommend an increase in renewable... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:24:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Jeff Jones is living just a quarter of a mile away from a future Controlled Animal Feeding... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 8:26:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 88°
7pm 87°
8pm 82°
9pm 81°
10pm 79°