Columbia woman dies from injuries in house fire - Republic-Times | News

Columbia woman dies from injuries in house fire

By on August 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm

A Columbia woman died Saturday from injuries sustained in a fire to her home last Tuesday night.

Columbia police, fire and EMS were assisted by the Millstadt and Dupo fire departments and Dupo EMS at the scene of a house fire that was called in shortly before 10 p.m. on Aug. 14 at 115 E. Liberty Street, located near Immaculate Conception Catholic School.

The female homeowner, Amy Volkert Mehrmann, was pulled from inside the burning and smoking home and rushed by ambulance to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis.

She was then transferred to St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, Mo., for treatment of smoke inhalation and burns.

Columbia Assistant Fire Chief Jim Broshears said Mehrmann died from her injuries on Saturday morning.

“It sure was tough news to hear,” he said.

Two dogs inside the home also perished in the blaze. Mehrmann’s son, who also resides at that address, was not home at the time of the fire.

Flames were reported to have been shooting out from the windows upon police and firefighter arrival, but were largely knocked down by firemen in a short amount of time. However, heavy smoke could be seen billowing from all sides of the home for an extended period by those watching at the scene, forcing firefighters to cut into the top of the roof for ventilation.

A State Fire Marshal official was called in to investigate a cause of the blaze. Broshears said the fire appears to have started in a downstairs living room, possibly due to a cigarette from an ashtray.

“We’re thinking she fell asleep on the couch,” Broshears said, adding Mehrmann appeared to have awoken during the fire and attempted to exit through the rear of her home.

An unconscious Mehrmann was found blocking a rear door leading to a breezeway, Broshears said.

Firemen Wes Mathany and Jared Huch were credited with getting that door open and pulling her out quickly. A police officer and passerby had initially forced open the back door of the house to check it for occupants, and an officer crawled into the home but was stopped by a second door that was obstructed.

The police officer attempted to open the door, Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards said, but the smoke was too heavy to continue.

“Great, great work by them (Mathany and Huch), and the EMTs and police,” Broshears said. “It was an all-around great effort by everyone there.”

Funeral services for Mehrmann took place Tuesday at Lawlor Funeral Home in Columbia, located just down the street from where the fire occurred.

Amy Lynn Mehrmann, 45 years of Columbia, IL, passed away on August 18, 2012 at Mercy Hospital, Creve Coeur, MO. She was born September 22, 1966 in East St. Louis, IL.

Mehrmann was a medical assistant for more than 15 years, according to her obituary, most recently at Family Practice in Waterloo.

In addition to her son, Drew Mehrmann, she is survived by mother Grace Volkert and brothers, Bruce, Craig and Alan Volkert.

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.