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St. Charles County Fire Departments pooled their resources to send help. The St. Louis County Fire Department aims to do the same.

WOOLDRIDGE, Mo. – The town of Wooldridge, Missouri, was evacuated as fires burned in the area.

In Cooper County, the fire originated from a combine that caught fire while plowing a field, officials told KOMU.

St. Charles County Fire Departments have pooled resources to send help, Orchard Farm Fire Chief Jeremy Hollrah said.

“St. Charles agencies have come together to send in a tanker task force,” the fire chief said. “That’s five tanker trucks with about 3,500 gallons of water each and about 15 firefighters.”

St. Louis County Fire Department officials were discussing available resources to see what they could send to help Saturday night, Metro West Fire Protection District spokesman Mike Thiemann said.

An engineer with the Jamestown Rural Fire Protection District, said Stephen Derendinger, half the town was burned down.

“It’s devastated,” Derendinger said.

Some people were treated for burns, but the blaze did not kill anyone, Cooper County Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Russell Schmidt said. The entire town was evacuated and many evacuees gathered at Fire Station 3.

Schmidt said about 15 to 20 homes were damaged by the fire.

Firefighters used water basins to fend off lingering flames in Wooldridge.

They were able to save the Wooldridge Baptist Church building, post office and Wooldridge Community Club.

According to a tweet from the Missouri Division of Fire Safety, firefighters from Cooper County, Jamestown, Calif., Howard County, Boone County, Clifton and Otterville all responded to the blaze.

At least 1,600 acres were threatened by the fire, including private land and conservation areas, Missouri Department of Transportation communications director Mike O’Connell told KOMU.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, the Wooldridge fire was largely contained. Schmidt confirmed that Greis Trucking and Excavating Co., of Booneville, was bringing bulldozers and equipment to help the Missouri Department of Conservation stop the fire from spreading.

O’Connell said many departments coming together to help were essential to containing the fire.

Tim Taylor, a retired firefighter assisting at the scene, said most of the blaze had spread north toward Interstate 70 on the wind.

According to MoDOT Central District, I-70 was closed in both directions beginning at 6:45 p.m. Saturday because smoke on the freeway gave drivers little to no visibility. Eastbound traffic was rerouted to Boonville, while westbound traffic was rerouted to New Franklin and Boonville.

Since then, I-70 has reopened in both directions.


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