COLUMBIA, MO - Around 10 pm Thursday April 4, the Columbia Fire Department responded to a reported residential structure fire at 3414 Sierra Madre in southwest Columbia. The 9-1-1 caller stated there was a fire in the clothes dryer.
Columbia firefighters arrived on the scene four minutes later to find smoke coming from the front door of a split-level home. Firefighters entered the home and encountered fire coming from the downstairs laundry room. Using a single hose line, crews controlled the fire in approximately five minutes.
The downstairs laundry room and the kitchen area on the main living level immediately above the laundry room sustained fire damage. The remainder of the five-bedroom rental home sustained moderate smoke damage. The home is uninhabitable until repairs are made.
The fire was discovered when one of the occupants heard the smoke alarm sounding, investigated, and found fire in the clothes dryer. The two adult occupants and six children then exited the structure.
"This is a great example of how smoke alarms provide early detection of a fire," said Fire Captain John Metz. "This early detection allows the occupants time to escape from the home before fire or smoke blocks their exit"? Metz said.
Columbia Assistant Fire Marshal Lt. Brian Davison investigated the fire and determined that, for an unknown reason, the dryer overheated and ignited clothing. Damage to the structure is estimated at $35,000. The occupants did not have rental insurance and are working with the American Red Cross for temporary housing. No pets were injured in the incident.
Three fire engines, a ladder truck, and a rescue squad responded to the incident. Crews remained on the scene for more than an hour conducting salvage and overhaul operations.