UPDATE: Donation fund established for injured firefighters

4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago Friday, August 16 2019 Aug 16, 2019 Friday, August 16, 2019 12:34:00 PM CDT August 16, 2019 in News
By: Austin Walker, KOMU 8 Reporter & Emily Wolf, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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VIENNA - A relief fund has been established for six firefighters injured Friday fighting a fire turned explosion at a home on Highway 28.

The Vienna Fire Fighters Relief Fund was established at Maries County Bank. The Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman asked people to donate to the fund if they were able.

In a Facebook post, Heitman said "these heroes are volunteers and run towards danger for no pay." They expect several of the firefighters to miss work and incur costs as a result of the incident. 

Six firefighters were transported to various Mid-Missouri hospitals for first, second and third degree burns. As of Friday evening, Assistant Chief Mark Buschmann and firefighters Chase Lenning, TJ Jeremy, Mark Honse and Mason Smith were released from the hospital. One firefighter will remain in the hospital overnight for observation. 

Late Friday morning, the Vienna Fire Protection District reported an "active structure fire with reports of explosions" on its Facebook page. The Maries County Sheriff's Office said on its Facebook page there was an explosion, with six firefighters needing treatment for "moderate to severe burns and cuts from flying debris."

The son of the homeowners, TJ Travers, said he learned firefighters were injured after a friend texted him.

"It's just a nightmare I don't want to wake up from," Travers said.

Travers said he went and picked up his mother in Jefferson city has soon as he heard the news.

 "We didn’t know how badly they were injured," Travers said. "We just didn’t know about who was injured, who was in the house...just in the dark...almost like oblivion, basically we didn’t know what was going on"

Mary Hafner, the homeowner's sister, told KOMU 8 News the has been under a year long remodel.

"We updated everything," Hafney said. "You should have seen it, it was beautiful."

The cause of the fire and subsequent explosion is undetermined. The Maries County Sheriff's Office said the state fire marshal has been called into help investigate.

Mason Smith, one of the injured first responders said when the fire hit him, it was like a heat wave.

As I was putting on my gloves I saw fire come from the left side and I could see fire coming out of nowhere," Smith said. "It literally knocked you to the ground you felt the force and heat. I was in full gear except for my hands obviously.That's why I didn't get burned anywhere else." 

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