Photo Gallery: Firefighters battle blazes west of Carthage

John Hacker

Two residences catch fire, in close proximity to each other both in time and location -- that’s usually cause for suspicion among firefighters and law enforcement officials.

Carthage Fire Battalion Chief Ron Hitchcock said in the first of the two fires, suspicions were justified as the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s office declared it arson and began investigating along with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.

The second fire was deemed electrical and accidental.

10:16 a.m. Wednesday

That’s when Carthage firefighters were called out to the 7800 block of County Road 192 for fire outside a mobile home that was threatening a vehicle and the mobile home.

“An Empire worker called this one in and said it was outside and heading toward a car and trailer home,” Hitchcock said. “The paramedics got there before we did and said the fire was in the car. It had spread to the trailer home by the time we got there.”

Hitchcock said the trailer was not occupied and was being used as storage by the owner.

He said an investigator with the Fire Marshall’s office arrived and said the fire had been set. The fire Marshall and the sheriff’s department are investigating the fire.

Hitchcock said Duenweg Fire Department assisted with a water tanker and some manpower. He said Carthage firefighters returned to the station at 12:20 p.m.

12:46 p.m. Wednesday

Firefighters barely had time to fold up their hoses and get back to the station when the second alarm sounded in the same part of Jasper County.

Hitchcock said firefighters arrived at the home at 17403 Jayhawk Road to find the entire rear utility room of the home ablaze.

“I thought this one was a goner when we got there,” Hitchcock said. “The guys made a good stop on it. We had a lot of water damage downstairs and heavy fire damage to the rear of the home.”

Hitchcock said investigators found that an electrical box in the utility room had shorted out, setting fire to the wall and attic at the rear of the home.

He said a family of five, including a husband, wife and three children rented the home. The Southwest Missouri Chapter of American Red Cross responded and put the family up for the night, Hitchcock said.

He said Duenweg and Avilla firefighters assisted Carthage with water tankers and manpower.

Carthage Press