The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 18, 2012

Fire blackens square-mile area in Lawrence County

MONETT, Mo. — Firefighters from as many as a dozen departments battled a wind-driven fire in grass, brush and timber for upward of eight hours Tuesday in a rural area between Monett and Freistatt while also dealing with the blazing heat wave.

A spokeswoman with the police and fire communications center in Monett said by phone that no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, which was started by a welder who was working on a fence. Some firefighters did suffer from smoke inhalation, but did not require hospitalization, she said.

The fire, which at times was more than an square mile and blackened from 600 to 700 acres, was declared under control shortly before 10 p.m., she said. Most of the firefighters were clearing the scene at that time, but those from Freistatt planned to keep an eye out for flare-ups through the night.

The fire had been centered in the area of County Roads 2210 and 1100, or between Route H and Highway 60 just northeast of Monett, near Freistatt.

In addition to Freistatt and Monett, fire departments from Mount Vernon, Pierce City, Aurora, Butterfield and Purdy were among those on the scene. The Missouri Department of Conservation had sent in a bulldozer to assist in the effort.

Several structures were in harm’s way in the course of the afternoon, but firefighters were able to save them, the spokeswoman at Monett said.