By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)March 15, 2019
A residential structure fire, reported around 12:16 a.m. Sunday in Fort Leonard Wood's Stone Gate housing area, resulted in a total loss of one home and water damage to the adjoining residence.
No injuries were reported in the early morning incident, which had crews from both installation fire stations responding to the initial report of a shed being on fire. Upon arrival crews found the shed, as well as a large portion of the house, already on fire.
"Once on scene they confirmed the extent of the fire and immediately requested additional assistance," said Brad Bowling, Fort Leonard Wood fire chief. "We had St. Robert Fire as well as Waynesville Rural Fire out here with us."
Bowling said with the combined help of seven fire trucks and 25 fire fighters, it took roughly 3.5 hours to get the blaze under control. Without the additional assistance, he said, the outcome could have been much worse.
"It was a quick response. It was a good, aggressive attack from the fire crews, which were able to hold the fire to the dwelling of origin," he said. "While one was a total loss, we prevented (the fire) from getting to the next one, and we also prevented it from going to any of the adjacent structures."
He said the critical assistance they received is the result of long-standing mutual aid agreements the installation has with communities outside the gates. The most current agreement was signed in August 2014.
Lt. Col. Graham Swenson, Directorate of Emergency Services director, said agreements such as these are vital, especially in rural areas and are even more important to the citizens involved.
"When one of the communities in the area has a need, each one knows they can rely upon the other towns to provide assistance," Swenson said. "In today's fiscally constrained environment, no single community could afford to have unlimited coverage, personnel and equipment."
Bowling said the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department has a good relationship with the surrounding departments and often conducts training with them.
He said the department assisted with getting a fire under control in a St. Robert subdivision the week prior.
"Mutual aid is a two-way street -- us supporting them off post, as well as them supporting us on post," Bowling said. "This is just proof that those established relationships are utilized routinely and have a significant benefit to both communities."
Swenson agreed, "Mutual aid agreements ensure that all our communities and citizens have access to the vital emergency services they hopefully never need."