A call came in to the St. James Rural Fire District office at 7:51 p.m., Sunday evening.

A call came in to the St. James Rural Fire District office at 7:51 p.m. Sunday evening. The Clinton Cantrell residence at 26475 Maries County Rd. 433 was on fire. Most of the rural fire fighting crew had assembled earlier at the station for a stand-by call from the Rolla Rural Fire District that was involved with another fire.
“We had two pumpers and two tankers out the door in a minute’s time,” said Chief Bruce Parton.
“We were told Mrs. Cantrell was home alone at the time. She was putting wood in a wood stove and left the stove door open to create a draft. She left to get another log and the heat coming out of the stove caught a Christmas tree on fire, that was probably too close to the stove and a little dried out,” said Fire Chief Parton. “She came in with the log, saw the tree on fire, but was unable to get it out the door.”

He said it took the fire fighters 11 minutes to get on the scene. “In that part of our district, we were mutually aided by the Vichy Fire Department with an additional tanker. When we got there, I’d say the house was 75 percent involved.”
Fire Chief Parton said the structure was an old two-story farm house; but now considered a total loss.

“We were all taken aback, at how quickly this fire got going—especially since we were all here and out the door so quick,” he said.
“It probably shaved three to four minutes off of our time compared to a normal situation, but it was so far gone by the time we got out there, there was very little we could do.
Though the house is considered a total loss, there were no injuries.The fire protection units were on the site for three hours.