Bunceton plant fire originated from electrical source

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BUNCETON - The state fire marshal ruled Monday morning the Bunceton plant fire originated from an electrical source, according to the Cooper County Fire Protection District.

Division Chief Ryan Reuter said this electrical source is what eventually resulted in the explosion.

He said the fire marshal was unable to pinpoint an exact spot where the fire began because the heat was too intense and damage too great.

No one was injured in the fire but the fire caused immense amounts of property damage. 

The original 911 call came in just after 11 a.m. Saturday morning, and crews had the flames under control just before 5 p.m. About 60 firefighters responded to the scene, and roughly 45 of them were working as unpaid volunteers. 

This incident was one of the largest to which the Cooper County Fire Protection District has ever responded. Just minutes after the first firefighters arrived, they called for backup from surrounding counties. The Boonville and Tipton departments were the first to respond to the call for help.

In the nearly eight hours crews were working on the scene, they used more than 216,000 gallons of water and about 100 gallons of foam to extinguish the flames. Reuter said on average, a single story structure fire needs between 3,000 and 9,000 gallons of water to suppress the flames. 

The fire happened at one of the largest businesses in the city, and Reuter expects it to take a big toll on the town. 

"It's going to be a fairly big hit to the community as far as their day-to-day life. There's a pretty big hole there now from where that incident took place," Reuter said. 

Reuter said his department reviews its jobs after each incident, but it is difficult to prepare for a fire to this large of a scale. He said under the circumstances, he is pleased with how well all the responders worked as a team to control the flames and take control of the situation. 

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct multiple spelling and grammar errors.)