The Highway KK Firestorm

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New Haven, Mo. – Wednesday evening at 7:28 p.m. New Haven/Berger Fire responded for a first alarm fire on Highway KK, six miles south of New Haven, Mo.  When fire crews arrived, one building was already fully engulfed in flames, which quickly spread to two neighboring structures.  Fire officials immediately struck a second and then third alarm that brought over 100 firefighters from seven additional departments.

Pictured right is Deputy Fire Chief Tim Frankenberg with Washington fire.

Wednesday’s fire was the largest and most difficult fire seen in this area for over a decade.  Commanding officer and Washington Deputy Fire Chief, Tim Frankenberg said, “In the 17 years of being a firefighter this has been one of the most unusual fires I have ever worked with and by far the most challenging I have commanded.”

A total of 25 fire trucks from Washington, Beaufort/Leslie, Gerald/Rosebud, Union, Owensville, Boles, and Hermann responded to assist New Haven.  There were also three ambulances on the scene, two from New Haven and one from Gerald, to rehab fire crews as they rotated in and out of operations.  Washington sent an ambulance to cover New Haven’s district.
Frankenberg said, “What made fighting this fire so difficult, aside from the heat, was one, being in a rural area where you do not have a consistent water supply and two, how wide spread of an area we were dealing with.”

Frankenberg said, “The fire spread so fast due to the dry weather, but more so because this was once a saw mill.  What was inside the area was gone and there was nothing we could do about that…all we could do was contain the fire and keep it from spreading.  I didn’t want a neighbors house to burn down or catch a field on fire.”

Wednesday’s three-alarm fire started as a small pile of trash inside one of the structures and was thought to have been extinguished before the individual began walking back to his house.  Several minutes later a neighbor noticed a large amount of smok coming from the same building.

We spoke with Scott who lives three houses down from the scene.  He said, “I ran up the hill as fast as I could and called 911.  I tried to save as many tools for my neighbor as possible.  No more than I ran out of the entrance…I turned around and all I saw was a wall of flames.”

Fire crews were on the scene for six hours.  A barn full of nearly 500 round hay bales continues to burn.  Frankenberg said, “It will be days before this fire is completely extinguished.”

There were three buildings that were completely destroyed, not including where the hay bales were storied.

To help put into perspective, an estimated 300,000 gallons of water was shuttled by tankers from two different fill sites.  One site was set up in New Haven and the other at a nearby lake.

The 300,000 gallons used is one third of New Haven’s water tower.

Frankenberg said, “All the departments did a great job working together and most importantly no one was injured.”

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