The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Cold Weather Doesn't Stop Fire

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Friday morning, December 5, the Harold and Barb Shrum family of Media lost their house and all their belongings in a fire, suspected to be caused by electrical.

The Shrums with their two daughters have temporarily moved in with his parents, Jim and Annie Shrum.

Firemen came from all around to assist the MST firemen hold hoses, fetch water and fight the fire which lasted from 9:30 to the middle of the afternoon. Trucks from Gulfport-Gladstone, Biggsville, Kirkwood-Central Warren

Roseville (RSPEC), Raritan, Dallas City-Lomax could be seen still helping in the afternoon. The Southern Henderson County Ambulance Service, Stronghurst, and the Henderson County deputies were on hand.

Ameren IP serviceman, NICOR gas were called to shut off power and gas and the Media water was shut off.

Chris Cook of Stronghurst was at the fire with her SUV "food wagon." She helps firemen with the radio, keeping track of the weather, the time the call comes in and how many firemen go out for the MST Fire District to aid the firemen with their stats needed on paperwork after each fire. 

She also travels to fires with her SUV to supply hot drinks in the winter and cold drinks in the summer. Her brother, David Vancil brought over crackers, cheese, and salami from Vancil's Locker which he often donates to help nourish the volunteers.

Chris gave up her black fireman's coat  she had been assigned. Her nephew Arbry Vancil's yellow firecoat had gotten wet and cold. Several firemen were sitting in their trucks to warm up after a long day.  Some worked the night shift and would be leaving the fire to go to an 8 hour job. A couple of MST firemen said they really appreciated the assistance from other departments in helping hold the hoses.

Fire Chief Curt Eisenmayer at The Quill's Diamond Anniversary Celebration which saluted community heroes after 9-11, said that firemen head out to an unknown danger whenever the fire siren calls.

They leave warm beds, food on the table, and come as they are in all kinds of weather, and such was the case on Friday.

Two firemen who headed down the stairwell searching for the origin of the fire in the smoke-filled house where no flames were yet to be seen, were startled as they opened up the downstairs door and flames jumped out melting the top of one firemen's hat. They quickly left all and escaped without being hurt.

At the end of this day, firemen were definitely wet and tired and were thanking God for all the support from their neighboring volunteer firemen.

Everyone was switching in and out as some got tired.

Meantime, West Central Pre-K School (formerly Southern's Jr. High School) was filling up with smoke from the bellowing fire. Two buses were ordered to the site from West Central's north campus and kids were lined up and quickly boarded buses, Dale Short  was left to oversee the building as head of Maintenance there.

The building had visible smoke in the back and smelled of smoke from the moment you walked inside.

The best thing, was no one was at home at the Shrums. Their two daughters were attending elementary school at the West Central North Campus, Biggsville.

A2MST Fireman Arbry Vancil stops at the end of a long day for some cocoa, cheese and crackers.