CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — Kurt C. Eischen and his son Kurt Eischen lost everything in a fire that ravaged their home on Monday, Sept. 2.
The father and son had just said goodbye to friends after hosting a barbeque in their home. After their guests left for the evening, Kurt C. went to bed and Kurt (the son) put out a bonfire, checked that the barbeque grill was off, locked up the house and went to bed.
“About 10 minutes later I heard the smoke alarm going off in the garage,” Kurt said. He ran out and saw that the garage was on fire. “I woke up dad and got him out of the house,” Kurt said. “All of a sudden we started hearing explosion after ear-deafening explosion.” Seven oxygen tanks, three propane tanks, a 50-gallon compressor, gas cans, lawn equipment, ammunition and black powder were ignited by the raging fire. The explosions rocked the neighborhood. “People said they heard it as far as a mile away,” Kurt said.
“Dad tried to open the garage, but the fire was so intense it melted the garage door,” Kurt added. Kurt ran back into the house to rescue two-dogs and while in the house he grabbed his cell phone and called 911.
Mid County Fire Protection District (MCFPD) firefighters responded to the emergency 911 call received at 11:39 p.m. “They got here fast,” Kurt said.
According to the MCFPD Fire Chief Scott Frandsen, on arrival firefighters found the attached garage on the single-story residence, fully involved in fire with ammunition, oxygen tanks and propane tanks stored in the garage igniting multiple explosions.
The heat from the garage was so intense that several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion on the scene. Fortunately, all were able to return to service. They succeeded in bringing the fire under control in 40 minutes, but not without significant damage. The garage and vehicle were a total loss and the living area sustained significant heat, smoke and water damage. “It is unlivable,” Kurt said. “It’s just material stuff. The only thing that matters is everyone got out and we are okay. All the rest can be replaced.”
The Eischens had just purchased the house with cash. They had only lived in it for three weeks and do not have homeowner’s insurance.
“The firefighters were awesome, we couldn’t ask for better firefighters,” Kurt C. said. “They gave us information on how to contact the Red Cross.” Kurt’s dad helped them purchase a used vehicle and the Red Cross put them up in a hotel room for a few nights, but they are now homeless.
“Kurt and his son are the most hardworking and wonderful people,” friend Debbie Grimes said. “Kurt moved his son to Missouri to give him a better life. Helping them get back on their feet would be a great thing to do.” To securely give, visit their GoFundMe Page.
MCFPD responded with two engines and three tankers. They were assisted on the scene by mutual aid partners from the Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach and Gravois Mills Fire Protection Districts and Lake West Ambulance and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.
Lake Ozark Fire Protection District moved a fire truck and firefighters to the MCFPD Station No. 1 to cover additional emergency incidents during this time. All firefighters cleared the scene by 2:30 a.m. The cause of fire is listed as accidental and was started in the garage area.