A house in the 2500 block of Old Hwy. M in the Antonia area was destroyed by fire Wednesday night (Feb. 1), and four Antonia firefighters were hurt while they were responding to the fire and a car struck the firetruck they were in, said Assistant Fire Chief Glenn Nivens of the Antonia Fire Protection District.
A fifth Antonia firefighter was hurt when he slipped and fell while trying to get into a different firetruck to respond to the fire, Nivens said.
He said the fire is considered suspicious, and an investigation is underway.
Nivens also said a section of Old Hwy. M between Moss Hollow and St. Luke’s Church roads was closed for several hours while firefighters worked to put out the house fire, Nivens said.
Just before 8 p.m., four Antonia firefighters were in a pumper firetruck returning from a call for a brush fire on Ashwood Drive, which is at the end of Briarwood Lane off Wedde Road in Barnhart, and as they were pulling into the firehouse at Hwy. M and Moss Hollow, they spotted the house fire on Old Hwy. M, so the firefighters turned around the truck and headed to the fire, Nivens said.
The firetruck was headed north, crossing the intersection of Hwy. M and Moss Hollow Road, when an Imperial woman driving east in the left lane of Hwy. M and approaching Moss Hollow, failed to stop in time to avoid the truck, and the front right corner of the car struck the left side of the truck, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports.
The firetruck had its lights and sirens on, Nivens said.
Kelsi A. Gmerek, 20, of Imperial was driving the car, a 2001 Honda Accord. She sustained minor injuries and was taken by Rock Township Ambulance to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in south St. Louis County.
The four firefighters injured in the accident were Allen M. Cope, 21; Eric J. Sadl, 38; Kevin J. Schnable, 39; and Benjamin J. Steinkamp, 37, all of Barnhart. They all sustained minor injuries and were taken by Rock Ambulance to St. Anthony’s, the patrol reported.
All the firefighters were home from the hospital today (Feb. 2), Nivens said.
He said the other firefighter who fell while getting in a different firetruck hurt his shoulder and was taken to the hospital for treatment, and he, too, was home from the hospital today.
Everyone involved in the accident was wearing a seat belt, the patrol reported.
The car was totaled, and the firetruck was moderately damaged, the report said.
No one was living at the house that was destroyed by fire, so there was no electricity to it, Nivens said.
He said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the state Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire, but it looked like the fire may have started in a pile of furniture, mattresses and other debris lying outside the home and then spread to the home.
Nivens said firetrucks and apparatus had to be staged along Old Hwy. M and that’s why a section of the road was closed until about 2:30 a.m.
He said firefighters had to run a 5-inch hose about 1,500 feet to reach a fire hydrant and provide water to fight the blaze.
Firefighters and investigators were on the scene until about 5 a.m. today, Nivens said.
He said several other fire districts helped with the call, including Rock Community, Saline Valley, Dunklin, Goldman, High Ridge and Eureka.