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      Fire levels farmhouse in New Bloomfield

      Fire consumed an old farmhouse on Missouri Highway J in New Bloomfield, burning the structure down to its foundation.

      Firefighters say the home at 7001 Missouri Highway J is a total loss, with damage estimated at over $100,000.

      It took three nearby fire departments close to two hours to get the fire under control.

      Fire Chief Travis Bell says when his crews arrived, flames were shooting out from all four sides of the home, sending black smoke billowing into the sky.

      The property owner declined to go on camera, but said the building was over 100 years old.

      Fire departments became aware of the blaze when Tony Hooten saw black smoke in the sky and called 911.

      Hooten said when she arrived at the home, the fire quickly became more dangerous. "It didn't take long before it started exploding. There were things inside... I guess the fire was more inside the building."

      Bell says some of the items inside the farmhouse made the fire a dangerous one to fight. "There's a gas can over there that's not stored properly. The propane tank wasn't stored properly like it should have been," Bell said. "There was an oxygen bottle in the structure that could have exploded on us, various hazards like that."

      David Griffith of the Red Cross urges families to come up with a plan to protect themselves.

      "One of the things we tell people to do is to make a plan," Griffith said.

      "I know that when I was growing up, mom told us to meet out by the swing if there was a fire. So, that's where would go and if one of us wasn't there, that's when we'd know there would was a problem."

      As part of National Fire Prevention Week, the Red Cross is urging people to evaluate whether or not they are sufficiently prepared for a fire. Griffith says some simple preventative measures can save families from some trouble during an emergency situation. They include:

      • Making sure smoke detectors are installed in bedrooms, hallways, and common areas;
      • Checking to make sure smoke detector batteries work;
      • Keeping fire extinguishers in common areas;
      • Having a list of emergency phone numbers ready to use in an emergency;
      • Have an alternative place to meet in case the first emergency meeting place is unreachable.

      In the case of a house fire, Griffith says having a plan can make the difference between life and death.

      For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, click here.