Bourbon Building Fire at Uncle Ernie`s

Last Sunday night, I had just finished a late supper and was preparing to edit up some images from a recent shoot, when I heard Bourbon Fire Department toned out for a commercial structure fire on Main Street in the downtown area. I quickly looked up the address on google earth maps and it showed the address dispatched at the east end of the street. I grabbed my camera and flash and headed for the truck with Missy, as the dispatcher had also stated there was heavy smoke showing, reported by police on scene. Enroute, I called our local newspaper editor Jim, and told him what I had heard…he told me he would also be there in a little while. I arrived in Bourbon and drove to the fire station, wanting to park near it but out of the way of anticipated heavy traffic on Main Street. As I had entered the city limits on the South Service Road, I had smelled wood smoke and there was a heavy haze hanging in the area near the intersection of Hwy J, as well. I found some open parking area across from the fire station and parked, observing fire trucks near the Bourbon Police Department, in the middle of Main Street, rather than at the east end of it. I also noticed a dark smoke hanging in the area of the street as well…still too far away to tell which building was involved.

I walked up to Main Street and then found Assistant Chief Jared Boast setting up Command Post in their Rescue Truck across the street from the building housing Uncle Ernie`s Bar and Grill….a local eatery that was well known and well liked in the area…a place I had only heard about but had never tried out myself. I called Jim and updated him on the location and where he could easily find parking. He pulled up a few minutes later. Here is how the building looked on my arrival…..

01 Arrival of BFD Heavy Smoke Showing

…heavy smoke rolling out the front door and a second story window on the west side, as firefighters were setting up their trucks and laying hoselines to prepare for water supply…

06 Front of Building

….Sullivan`s Ladder Truck 852 showed up soon after and Command decided to reposition it from the front of the building to the east side in the parking lot…

05 SFD Ladder Arrives

…and Sullivan`s crew joined up with Bourbon`s interior attack crew at the front door…..

07 First Crew Enters Bldg

09 First Crew Enters Bldg


10 SFD Repositions Ladder East Side Bldg12 SFD Crews Join BFD Inter Crews

13 SFD Crews Join BFD Inter Crews

 …a few minutes later, as Nolan was setting up Ladder 852, Bourbon`s attack crew came out of the building and Sullivan`s crew entered the building…Bourbon`s crew had found fire in the back of the building in the kitchen area, yet it appeared fire had extended into the second floor….

17 Crews Change Out Bus Owner Arrives

…Sullivan crews entered the building checking for additional fire as there was more smoke coming from other areas of the building by now…a ground ladder was set up at the front of the building to a second floor window and Cuba`s Ladder Truck was positioned at the front of the building on the northwest corner….

20 Cuba Ladder Arrives

…very similar in design to Sullivan`s Ladder Truck, built by the same manufacturer, just a different color, Sullivan`s red and Cuba`s decked out in their school colors and mascot….

22 Cuba Ladder Arrives

…by this time, the smoke was beginning to get thicker and heavier, still dark brown in color….

23 Smoke Thickens

…I walked back down to the east end to find the smoke getting thick in front of the building as well as the east side, and banking down, as firefighters brought more ground ladders to raise to the windows in front on the second floor….

25 Smoke Thickens Again

26 Ladders Positioned Front Windows29 Front Windows Ventilated

…enabling firefighters to open the second floor windows in an attempt to locate the fire…as heavy smoke poured out of the second floor window on the right, another ladder was raised and crews accessed the window on the left side as well….

31 Front Windows Broken Out32 Front Windows Broken Out

33 Front Windows Broken Out34 Front Windows Broken Out

…the smoke continued to thicken up as firefighters continued to seek out the fire believed to be located inside the building….

37 Front Windows Broken Out38 Front Windows Broken Out

…and within a few minutes more, heavy fire broke out through the roof of the building above the firefighters in the windows and quickly spread across the entire roof from front to back….

41 Flames Break Thru Roof

45 Flames Break Thru Roof

46 Flames Break Thru Roof

50 Heavy Fire Breaks Thru Roof

…firefighters scrambled to re-position hoselines and ladders to more effectively attack the fire from a defensive position at this point….

51 Heavy Fire Breaks Thru Roof

53 Cuba Repositions Ladder

57 Cuba Repositions Ladder

…I took one more photo at the west end of the block and then walked back to the east end to see what efforts were being made to contain the surging fire….

59 Heavy Fire Covers Roof Now

…and found several firefighters manning a large diameter hoseline in the parking lot behind Sullivan Ladder 852….and another line manned at the rear of the building to protect the storage building farther back….

60 Firefighters Mann Attack Lines

61 FFs Attack With Heavy Diameter Handlines

62 FFs Attack With Heavy Diameter Handlines

66 Heavy Fire From Roof

…about this time, Cuba`s Ladder Truck pipe came into play on the northwest corner of the building and began pouring water on to the roof….

70 Roof Fire Knocked Down

…I walked around to the rear of the building and found firefighters digging a trench under the BNSF railroad tracks and laying a large diameter hoseline in the trench, going to the hydrant at the bottom of the hill, which was a known eight inch water line. I walked around to the parking lot between the Police Department Building and fire building, to find Sullivan`s Ladder Pipe in play as well, and firefighters attempting to knock down heavy fire at the very back of the Ernie`s building…..

72 SFD Ladder Attack75 SFD Ladder Attack

83 SFD Ladder Attack85 SFD Ladder Attack

…Dave Konys can be seen climbing up the ladder and operating at the top in the next few images…. 

87 SFD Ladder Attack89 SFD Ladder Attack

Union`s Ladder Truck showed up soon after and positioned behind the blue storage building behind the fire building, adding a third ladder pipe to the fire attack….

91 Ladder Truck Attack

91 Union Ladder Truck Attacks

…and pretty soon, all three Ladder Trucks were pouring water on to the increasing blaze on the roof of the building….

96 Ladder Trucks Attack Roof Fire

…I cannot remember a fire this size and magnitude in the Bourbon Fire District that required so many Ladder Trucks to bring under control…..

98 Ladder Trucks Attack Roof Fire

101 Ladder Trucks Attack Roof Fire

102 Ladder Trucks Attack - Konys on Ladder

103 Konys on Ladder

…in the next image, you see Konys descending the ladder…he told me a few minutes later on the ground, that while up there, he was unable to see a thing down below except for the heavy smoke swirling around….

104 Konys on Ladder

106 Konys on Ladder

107 Ladders Attack Fire

111 Ladders Attack Fire

113 SFD Ladder115 SFD Ladder

119 BFD FFs on Pantry Roof

….I then walked to the other side of the building, still in the back…and let me say walking past Union`s Ladder Truck was an adventure on its own…those strobes are soooo bright you cant see anything in just a few minutes….on the west side of the building, firefighters had taken advantage of the lower roofline of the pantry building and were on it in force, attacking the fire through the second floor windows of the Ernies building….as was Cuba`s Ladder Truck Pipe in support…..

120 BFD FFs on Pantry Roof

121 BFD FFs on Pantry Roof


125 BFD FFs on Pantry Roof

123 BFD FFs on Pantry Roof

132 Cuba Ladder Pipe

129 BFD FFs on Pantry Roof

134 Utilizing Pantry Roof

141 Utilizing Pantry Roof

143 Utilizing Pantry Roof

148 Utilizing Pantry Roof

150 Utilizing Pantry Roof

151 Utilizing Pantry Roof

155 Utilizing Pantry Roof

158 Utilizing Pantry Roof

159 Utilizing Pantry Roof

164 Utilizing Pantry Roof

167 Utilizing Pantry Roof

…I then walked back to the front of the building….

174 Roof Flares Up Again

179 Roof Flares Up Again

…many times the firefighters were able to knock down the fire, and as soon as they did, the water pressure would drop dramatically, requiring Fire Command to request a Tanker Task Force…and as soon as I returned to the front of the building, I noticed several tankers from many departments doing just that…shuttling water from a hydrant outside of Bourbon to drop tanks located at both ends of Main Street….

182 Roof Flares Up Again

185 Roof Flares Up Again

186 Roof Flares Up Again

187 Roof Flares Up Again

188 Roof Flares Up Again

Bourbon`s new Police Chief, Rick Wise, was on scene by now, as I noticed him walking around the fire trucks providing scene security…..

189 Scene Lit Up

…I then walked around to the southwest corner of the scene, the back of the building where firefighters were again attacking the fire from the pantry building roof….

191 West Side Attack

…soon after this the fire was knocked down once again and this time it looked as if the firefighters had the upper hand with adequate water supplies on hand, thanks to the tanker shuttle. Kudos to the many firefighters who at the scene and behind the scenes at the water hydrants who were helping with water supply. 

Rocky Falls…a Total Gem in Southern Missouri

I was down at Eminence last weekend to do some rockhunting, the temps were beginning to climb into the 50`s and 60`s and the deep snows there were beginning to melt. After a long day of rock collecting, I drove down to Rocky Falls, located about ten miles east of town on Hwy 106 and then south on Highways H and NN, and arrived to find some snow still on the road and ground there. I had never seen it in the snowfall, have only been there in the summer time, when its normally very heavily occupied by area residents.

Rocky Falls is a beautiful waterfall nestled in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri, and drops down over a rocky outcrop of dolomite, dropping about fifty to sixty feet into a nice swimming hole of water….there are some rocky shut ins above and downstream from the falls.  The US Forest Service created a nice parking area near the base of the falls and built a nice gravel roadway to it from Highway NN. On this particular day, with the snowfall melting down, the creek was flowing very well and running heavily down over the rocky face….

01 With Snow Left

02 Some Snow Remains   04 Snowmelt Contributes

Stolen Explorer Crashes Into Building

A couple of weeks ago one morning, while I was getting ready to return to work after a few days off, I heard on the scanner that police were looking for a stolen explorer and that it had crashed into an old building up in the old part of town. I grabbed my camera and headed that way, on a very cold February morning…I called the newspaper editor of our local paper on the way, Jim said he was closeby and responded as well…I have worked with Jim and the paper…. providing them with many images for their local editions over the years. I arrived ahead of the Fire Department and talked to one of our City Public Works employees who told me that the driver of the explorer nearly struck the city truck he was driving and then veered across the funeral home lawn and into the side of the historic home that houses a jewelry store…..

Explorer Crashes into Jewelry Store 2

…the story on the scanner was that the explorer was occupied by two people, who both fled the explorer after the collision with the building…however when I arrived, the driver had returned….the damage to the home seemed much greater than the damage to the explorer….luckily no one inside the home was injured.

Stolen Ford Explorer Crashes Into Jewelry Store

First Winter Storm of 2015 on Feb 15th

Well we were deep into winter before we had our first official winter storm come in with the threat of snow and ice. I had to work that weekend and it waited til Sunday night before it came in…my short night at work…when I left at 3 am, things had settled down quite a bit, roads were fairly clear, our parking lot was in good shape as I left work….

Snowing Outside Work 3 AM

I walked out to start my truck and warm it up, nothing better than driving home in a warm truck as opposed to a very cold truck…

Leaving Work My Short Night

…it was still snowing the next morning when I woke up, so I drove down Hughes Ford Road to one of my favorite places to shoot snow images….

Hughes Ford Road

Hughes Ford Road Snowing

Hughes Ford Road Snowing 2

Hughes Ford Road Snowing 3

Lone Oak Tree on Hughes Fd Rd

Lone Oak Tree on Hughes Fd Rd 2

Lone Oak Tree on Hughes Fd Rd 3



House Fire on Hwy J near Japan

The morning of Wednesday, Feb 4th, I was getting ready to clean some rocks and heard Bourbon Fire Department`s tones dropped on the scanner and dispatched to a residential structure fire on Hwy J, near Seminary Road…I knew this was in Sullivan`s Fire District and they would be soon dispatched as well, so after grabbing my camera, Missy and I headed for the truck. The fire crew on duty must have overheard the dispatch as well and I spotted them northbound on Hwy 185 as I approached the Elmont Bridge. They were soon out of my sight and I turned on Seminary Road…figuring I would catch up to them, but it was soon apparent that they had continued north on Hwy H instead. Seminary Road is a good straight road once you cross the creek and I was able to make good time, arriving right behind Bourbon Fire Department, finding the Voss residence filled with heavy brown smoke. It took me a few minutes to find a parking spot off the roadway, which I knew would soon be filled with fire trucks, and in that time, Sullivan`s Pumper 854 arrived. As I walked up to the house, I stopped to talk to neighbor and good friend Don Moss, who had called in the alarm after driving up on the fire…Sullivan`s crew joined Bourbon`s crew and entered the basement via the back stairway, where much of the heavy smoke appeared to be coming from….

04 Crews Open Door to Basement

05 BFD & SFD Crews Enter Basement

06 BFD & SFD Crews Enter Basement08 Heavy Smoke From Basement

…while Daniel Whatley, Bourbon`s Chief, and his brother Jared Boast, waited outside prepared to hump more hose inside the house if needed, assisted by MOBAP paramedics…additional firefighters from Bourbon and Sullivan arrived and found additional locations inside the attached garage where the fire had extended to….

13 Kimker Enters Garage Door14 Cutting Garage Door

15 Entering Garage Door by Saw

…and once the garage door is cut open by saw, heavy smoke pours from the garage…..

17 Heavy Smoke From Garage

20 Heavy Smoke From Garage

…and firefighters enter the garage with a hoseline in seek of fire extension….

24 BFD Crews Enter Garage

29 BFD Crews Enter Garage

32 BFD Crews Enter Garage

35 BFD Crews Enter Garage


40 BFD Crews Enter Garage

Soon after, a positive pressure fan is set up at the back stairway entry door and soon smoke is starting to pour from every exit and lightening up as well, a good sign….the Voss residence saved by great teamwork by three neighboring agencies….

42 BFD Crews Enter Garage


January and February Sunsets

Normally our prettiest sunsets occur in the fall and spring, because we see more cloudy skies then, but the start of 2015 was filled with many pretty sunsets and sunrises this year….great way to start the new year as far as I was concerned….

03 Flagpole at City Park     02 Flagpole at City Park

..I started out from Park Street shooting west across the City Park toward the Skating Rink and City Pool, then decided to run out to the end of WW to see if it would hang in the sky and allow me to get the pond reflections….

05 Pond End of WW 08 Pond End of WW

…low and behold, it did hang up in the skies for a few minutes more after I arrived….and found the pond frozen completely over…which is okay because ice makes a great reflection too….


12 Pond End of WW

16 Pond End of WW

18 Pond End of WW

…the next night, I went out to the city lake, since the sky was completely filled with clouds that just blossomed into a gorgeous sunset….

20 Geese Landing City Lake

…as well as several geese, both in the water when I arrived and more coming by air a few minutes later when summoned by those already in the water….

24 Geese Landing City Lake

…I never knew there were that many Canadian geese at the City Lake, they just kept coming in….

30 Geese Landing City Lake

39 Geese Landing City Lake

…and as I was leaving, I stopped and photographed our newly rennovated Missouri Baptist Hospital of Sullivan, too….

40 MOBAP Sullivan

…two very pretty sunsets in a row….it was about ten days before I was able to photograph another nice one, on my way to work…this time I found some water puddles near the City Pool that gave me some nice reflections…

44 Waterhole Reflection by Pool 0117

…and then I drove down to the end of Fisher Drive and looked west and saw this….

46 Trees by Sonic 0117 - Copy


…and this one looking east as I headed down the interstate to work….

49 Headed to Work 0117

…a few nights later I shot these as I was headed to have supper with my parents….

55 Sonic & West 0124

52 Powerlines Landon Rd 0119

…and on my way to Rolla one night to have supper with a good photographer friend at Colton`s Steakhouse….first one is a little fuzzy….

62 Bourbon 0124

63 Bourbon 0124

…and closer to Cuba, there was this bright point of light that came thru the clouds and even reflected off the interstate pavement….never seen anything like it before….

66 West of Bourbon

68 West of Bourbon

70 Leasburg Area 0124

75 Cuba OP  0124

…that was a gorgeous sunset that just hung up in the skies til I was darn near to St James….