According to Lt. Robert Lang Jr. the initial dispatch advised that people were trapped and there were flames through the front door.
A Washington County deputy was first on the scene and saw someone pulling a man from the back porch of the home.
Lang Jr. said that he and Assistant Chief Robert Lang Sr. arrived on the scene and quickly started getting fire hoses in place to begin attacking the fire. The assistant chief quickly called for a second alarm for more manpower and equipment.
“This is where we ran into a snag,” said Lang Jr. “Some of the other departments we were calling were already assisting with a second alarm residential fire in Park Hills.”
He said smoke inside the home was so heavy he could barely see six inches in front of him. A portion of the roof collapsed, landing on Lang Jr. He was transported to Washington County Memorial Hospital by ambulance. He was released after having X-rays and a CT scan.
“I’m really sore from the incident, but thankfully the injuries weren’t serious,” said Lang Jr.
A woman who had been in the home suffered minor burns and was also treated at Washington County Memorial Hospital.
Departments that assisted with the blaze included Potosi Fire Protection District, De Soto Rural, De Soto City, Leadwood, Irondale, Caledonia, Belgrade and Steelville.
Lang Jr. said the house was a total loss. He thanked everyone for their assistance in fighting the fire, especially in the nasty winter weather conditions.
With weather conditions the way they were at the time of the fire it makes response times longer, and the use water to put out the flames just makes things more difficult when handling calls in below-freezing temperatures.
“When we go into a house we have on about 80 to 100 pounds of equipment, and by the time we come out we are usually frozen stiff and it feels like we have on an extra 300 pounds,” said Lang Jr.
The state fire marshal’s office was called in to investigate the cause of the fire.