Shortly after returning from Crestwood with a new camera that I purchased as a backup to my D90, Bourbon was toned out for a residential structure fire on Bechter Road, not far east of Old Argo Road. I looked up the address and took the back way to it, arriving seconds behind Bourbon`s lead pumper and tanker…I decided to park down by the pasture gate so I would not be in the way of any trucks. A friend of the family was pulled over there as well and let me know it was the Hofstetter residence and he was on his way home now…the house sitting back well off the road with a few outbuildings nearby…was well involved with heavy fire blowing out the front and back windows of the home….
Chief Daniel Whatley arrived and took Command of the scene…firefighters had their hands full from their arrival, battling extremely cold temps and a stiff wind blowing in from the south and straight through the house….
…as hoseline crews attacked the fire from outside the front windows, other firefighters scrambled to set up a drop tank for the tanker shuttle….
…you could definitely tell when the wind gusted up, as the flames coming out the front windows doubled and tripled in size….
It was decided that the tankers would enter and exit the pasture gate where I was located, leaving the driveway open….I figured this out soon after when Bourbon`s tanker driver dumped his load in the drop tank and then drove across the field in my direction, returning to the Bourbon station to get another load of water…
…as he departed the scene, Bourbon`s second pumper arrived and parked on the other side from their green pumper…Sullivan`s new pumper 854 then arrived with their tanker and second pumper not far behind…
After Sullivan`s pumpers entered the field by me…I had a horse come trotting down toward the gate, so I shooed him back into the middle of the field and then he turned and headed toward the driveway…one of the family members soon walked down and secured him in the front corner of the pasture near the driveway. Firefighters continued to pour water in through the front windows of the house in an attempt to knock down the intense fire and heat….
Soon after Sullivan`s tanker arrived, more tankers arrived from Leasburg, Cuba, and Beaufort-Leslie. A second alarm was requested at some point by Command, bringing in additional tankers from Owensville, St Clair, and Gerald….
….and soon after a pumper arrived from Steelville…Joe Smart, a good firefighter friend of mine was on board with a young crew and they were assigned to set up a drafting station at a lake just up the road from the residence, to fill the tankers and cut down on the return time for more water….
Lee Eikerman and his son assisted Joe and his young crew by chopping a hole in the thick ice on the pond, while Joe and his crew hooked up the hard suction lines to the truck and fitted it with the right appliances for drafting…Joe also placed his deck gun into operation so as to circulate the water through the pump and keep it from freezing up in the extremely cold temps. The fire was soon brought under control although firefighters remained on scene for some time that afternoon…great job by all there !!