“The Entire Street Was Just Gray.” House Fire Takes Life of Martin City Man
By Kathy Feist
A 55-year old Martin City man lost his life Tuesday afternoon to house fire.
Around 3 pm a fire crew was called to the home at 19 E. 134th St. where the back of the house was already in flames. The crew consisted of two ambulances and five fire trucks: three pump trucks and two trucks with ladders. Vehicles from Missouri Gas & Electric were also on hand for safety precautions.
“We got calls from several people,” says Fire Chief Tim Sheil. “They were fully involved.”
Judy Winter, a neighbor down the street, was one of those callers. “I was on hold for what seemed like one and a half minutes,” she reports.
She said she was aware of the fire when she smelled smoke. “Then I started seeing the smoke,” she said. “I yelled at my husband. He went down to help.” She said he and nearby neighbors tried to get to the victim. “We saw a woman pull up in her car and she began knocking on his front door. Then they went to the back, but flames were shooting out.”
Anthony Kammerer, a next-door neighbor, said he was in his bedroom unaware of the fire until he
received a call.
“I was home when my neighbor called me and said ‘Your neighbor’s house is on fire,’” he recalls. “I ran out on to the back porch and looked out on his back deck and the flames were just shooting out like crazy.”
“The entire street was just gray. You couldn’t see anything. The only thing you could see were the lights on the fire truck once they got here.”
With wind speeds at 16 mph, Kammerer feared for the safety of his home. “I got the safety deposit box out and after that I saw the flames engulf the entire back of his house.” The fire was contained before it could spread beyond the property.
Very little was known about the victim. Neighbors say he was very reclusive. His name will not be released until family members are informed. Cause of death and fire are under investigation.