SEDALIA, Mo. — People living in Pettis County are still talking about a big Thanksgiving Day fire. Ten people find themselves with no place to call home, after flames ruined four homes, and residents fear more buildings would be at risk.
Jim Long says he and his family had just finished Thanksgiving dinner when his home, which sits in the 400 block of Fourth Street, began to burn.
Video clips from Thursday afternoon, which were given to FOX 4 News by Nicole Cook and the Sedalia Democrat newspaper — shows the source of Long’s sorrow. Embers from a fire that started on one side of Fourth Street crossed the street, and sparked up the roof of the Long’s family home.
“I heard sirens and I looked out the back window, and I saw the heavy smoke fly by,” Long said.
Before Long knew it, the entire second floor of his two-story house was glowing red-hot. One day later, homes on each side of the street show signs they’ve been burned. The remains of one house are all but destroyed by the fire.
“I had my hose out,” Long said. “My neighbor had his hose out. We were keeping our yards watered down and our siding watered down.”
Long and his wife, Janet Long, got out alive, taking only their pets, and their son, David, with them. Jim says the 13-year-old is autistic, has cerebral palsy and has limited use of his vision and hearing.
In all, five families are displaced by the Thanksgiving Day blaze. The fire at an apartment house on that street cost six people their homes. Duane Hallock, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, says his agency helped eight adults and two children find meals, warm clothing and a few nights lodging in a local motel.
Jim Long says what his family needs the most right now is a permanent place to call home. Janet Long put everything into perspective, saying, ‘the worst thing that couldn’t have happened didn’t.’
Hallock says his response team finished its work on the ground in Pettis County on Thursday, and will follow up with families in the coming week.