Fire destroys Columbia home

Firefighters assess the damage following Saturday’s house fire in the 1500 block of Rueck Road. (Corey Saathoff photo)

Multiple departments battled a Saturday afternoon house fire in the 1500 block of Rueck Road in Columbia.

The Columbia Fire Department responded shortly after 1:30 p.m., with the Waterloo and Millstadt fire departments assisting at the scene and the Valmeyer Fire Department standing by at Columbia’s engine house.

Flames were shooting from the structure located at 1580 Rueck Road upon firefighter arrival, Columbia Assistant Fire Chief Don Sutter said.

The homeowner, Gale Goudey, was apparently in shower when the fire broke out, Sutter said, and a relative quickly alerted her to evacuate the residence.

Goudey went to an area hospital for observation, but was not believed to have been injured in the incident.

Sutter said a family member had been riding an ATV on the property and parked it next to the garage. He believes the parked ATV somehow caught fire and spread up through a garage window before expanding to the attic level of the attached residence.

He estimated the fire had been burning 10-12 minutes before firefighter arrival.

“Once we got there, we stopped it from further spread,” Sutter said. “I was told that the homeowner got out just in the nick of time.”

Fire damage was limited to the garage and attic space of the home, Sutter said, with the rest of the residence sustaining smoke and water damage.

“It’s close to a total loss,” Sutter said. “Fortunately, they’ll be able to salvage some personal items and maybe some furniture.”

Firefighters remained on scene for nearly three hours.

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