Cooper County firefighter Weston Fahrenbrink didn’t know what to expect at approximately 4 a.m. on Sunday after leaving his parents home in Wooldridge.
“I could see the smoke all the way from my parents house but it wasn’t until I was going up the ramp on 87 Highway that I realized it was a major fire,” Fahrenbrink said.
As it turned out, Fahrenbrink’s first thought was the right one as Mid-City Lumber was fully ablaze by then resulting in a total loss.
Cooper County Fire Department Lieutenant Tim Derendinger said tone was dropped at approximately 3:30 a.m.
“I received a tone for possible structure fire on Klinton Drive,” Derendinger said. “Cooper County Engine 1111 and tanker 1414 responded to the scene. I responded straight to the scene and when I arrived we had one commercial building-the rear half of the building was fully involved. It hadn’t made it into the office space yet. Engine 1111 then arrived on scene and we pulled two lines off it and made entry into the office, but by the time we made entry into the office the fire broke through the attic area and all the gas and smoke in the attic area caught on fire. The attic area flashed over, which then involved the office.”
With approximately 20 firefighters from three different fire departments (Cooper County, Boonville and Prairie Home) battling the blaze, Derendinger said workers from Mid-City Lumber said that most of their trucks and forklifts were inside the building at the time of the fire.
“I believe six vehicles all together were inside,” Derendinger said. “The Fire Marshall arrived here at approximately  7 a.m. and is doing his investigation so we won’t know anything until he finishes with that. “We have been here 5-6 hours and I would say that we have another 2-3 hours of just cleanup. My first though upon arriving at the scene is that we were going to try and go really aggressive with it and then after the roof collapsed in the office, that kind of prevented us from being able to get in there and try to save stuff. It just wasn’t safe for us sending our firefighters in there.”
Mid-City Lumber also has locations in Columbia, Jefferson City and Sedalia and provide products such as cabinets, doors, flooring, hardware, lighting, locks, millwork and stair parts, railings and decks, siding, tools, windows, wood products and discounted items.
Derendinger said they called mutual aid for Boonville’s Fire Department for their ladder truck and Prairie Home for some more tankers.
He said right now it’s just cleanup. “I am sure they will have their insurance company come in and look at everything and cleanup from there,” Derendinger said. “It’s a one step at a time kind of thing.”
For the time being, Derendinger said he has to talk to the chief to make sure it’s ok with him but the Cooper County Fire Department, which is just down the road, may offer their district office to Mid-City Lumber for a couple of days so they can get a mobile office. “That’s completely up to them on what they want to do with that,” Derendinger said.