A building housing 12 condos at the Woodlands off Fall Creek Road in Branson was destroyed Wednesday in a fire that kept emergency crews on scene for more than 12 hours.
Emergency crews from Western Taney County Fire Protection District and Branson Fire & Rescue were on scene until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday putting out a fire that was called in at 10:06 a.m., according to Bruce Bjorge, assistant chief of training for Western Taney County Fire Protection District.
Bjorge said the cause of the fire, in which no one was hurt, is officially ruled undetermined.
“Due to the extent of damage, anything that would have been available to determine the cause is destroyed, so we will never know ... it would be purely speculation,” he said. “The state fire marshal’s office did a preliminary investigation to try to determine the cause, and the fire marshal is going to do follow-up interviews with tenants and bystanders to see if, through the interview process, we may get more information to help understand how the fire started.
We’re still not going to be able to officially rule, at least not through evidence, how it started. The undetermined ruling won’t change.”
Bjorge said the Red Cross sent a local disaster assistance team from Branson and another team from Springfield to help those displaced by the fire.
“They’re helping with temporary housing while people are working with renter’s insurance and things like that as far as getting losses covered,” he said. “This building is gone, so they’ll have to find other staying arrangements.”
Bjorge said the crews were very concerned about making sure they had complete extinguishment by Thursday because there was a red flag warning and the building on fire was backed up to a wooded area.
“The red flag warning today means that the temperatures, humidity and wind speeds are just right so that any outdoor burning will cause the fire to grow very rapidly,” he said Thursday.
Bjorge said the fire took about 20,000 gallons of water to put out.
“We normally can put out a residential fire with a couple thousand gallons, but we had 12 condominiums each at 1,500 to 16,000 square feet all stacked on top of each other three high,” he said. “And because it was a primarily wood building means there was lot of energy to be able to burn.”
There was also a limited water supply for the emergency crews, Bjorge said, because there were only 8-inch mains, as opposed to 16-inch mains available some places in Branson.
“The building wasn’t protected by a sprinkler system at all, which could’ve kept the fire at bay at least to the apartment of origin,” he said. “Once (a fire) starts without a sprinkler, though, if the fire is large, it is difficult to control.”
While Bjorge said the building was a total loss, the emergency crews were able to save six garages directly adjoining the building.
“Some people’s personal belongings were able to be saved,” he said. “And (the other) owners of condos had garages in another building that was never was a threat.”
Emergency crews coordinated with the insurance company covering the building to bring in heavy equipment, which was the only way to achieve final extinguishment, Bjorge said, adding the last four or five hours on scene were spent using heavy equipment to bring down the building.
How many apartment and condo complexes built even 10 years ago have sprinkler systems or fire walls. Last year a condo caught fire and burnt due to no fire walls. Now one due to no sprinkler system. I'm sure there will be more incidents like this in the future unless building codes or insurance companies mandate multiple residential buildings have fire walls and sprinkler systems in place.
Condos have been poorly constructed all over the United States. And the majority of them don't have sprinkler systems and fire walls are questionable. They are quickly built to get them sold so the tax dollars start rolling in and the condo dues are collected. They are big money-making machines for everybody (developer, city, county, property managers, vendors, banks, and insurance companies until they burn down or fall down) except the sucker who buys one. The buyer is the loser all the way around.
Buying into a condo or HOA means you are 1) Signing away your US Constitutional Rights 2) Becoming business partners in a non-profit corporation with every one of your neighbors 3) Putting your financial assets (bank and savings accounts) up as a guarantee on any loans, lawsuits, liabilities of all kinds (swimming pool accidents, etc) and that includes any insane thing the board of directors might get your condo association or HOA into.
I wish I had know all of these details BEFORE I bought into one. I will never ever do it again. Learning the truth about them is hard to find because their are few resources telling the whole TRUTH and real estate agents are not going to expose it to a buyer. Some of them don't know the truth either. Where to find the truth? This website and book. neighborsatwar dot com Ward Lucas spent 40 years in the television industry as an investigative journalist. He retired and wrote the book that is waking up America with the dirty little secrets of the HOA and condo association industry. 350,000 HOAs are existing in America today. 63,000,000 million homeowners are living inside of one and there is very little legislation or oversight. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is nothing but a lobbying group that keeps the legislators from listening to the suffering homeowners. There is massive corruption and worse in the HOA world. Every owner, buyer, city planner, city council member, and state and federal legislator should be reading Neighbors At War! by Ward Lucas.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.