The Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Emergency Response Section was called out Oct. 25 to a Howard County trailer home fire after several first responders took ill while fighting the fire.
The department’s 24-hour environmental emergency hotline was contacted shortly before 3 a.m. by Brian Kunze, Howard County Emergency Management Director, regarding a fire at a house trailer located in southern rural Howard County. According to local officials, several responders may have suffered health effects from potential exposure to unknown materials at the scene and required medial attention.
Mr. Kunze requested assistance with determining the presence of any hazardous materials on-site and to stabilize the scene as necessary before local and state officials continue with their fire investigation. Department responders from two regional offices were dispatched to the scene to assist with site characterization.
The department also contacted the Missouri National Guard’s 7th Civil Support Team, based in Jefferson City, and requested them to respond with EER staff and provide support. Hazmat personnel set up a staging area in New Franklin to develop and implement an incident action plan.
Although the investigation into the fire is ongoing, the hazmat personnel have completed their initial survey and there can be no conclusions drawn at this time to identify what caused the symptoms observed in the first responders. The Fire Marshall continues to investigate the cause of the fire.
On average, the EER Section receives more than 1,500 incident calls and responds to nearly 450 hazardous substance emergencies each year. For more information on the program, visit Environmental Emergency Response.
For more information regarding hazardous waste, chemicals and debris associated with the production of methamphetamine visit Special Projects.
To report an environmental emergency, including fuel spills, please contact the spill line at 573-634-2436.