Editor's note: This article has been updated to include information about the ongoing investigation and information about how to receive a free smoke detector.

A family of 10 lost their home in a fire Friday morning in the 1100 block of East Seventh Street.

Sedalia Fire Department Chief Greg Harrell and Deputy Chief Matt Irwin said this is the seventh house fire in the last two and a half weeks and the third fire this week. It is an uptick from what the department has been seeing in recent years.

The fire was called in around 9:45 a.m. and the State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to investigate the fire. 

At the time of the fire, several occupants including children were inside the five-room home located across from Washington Elementary School. Harrell said Friday afternoon the fire is still under investigation. 

“One adult was in the shower and one adult was sleeping in the back room when the fire broke out,” Harrell said. “The gentleman in the shower, the school helped him get some clothes … he smelled smoke when he came out.”

Harrell added that Kelly Casto, the school resource officer at Washington, came over from the school, and said he saw one or two adults and three or four children on the front porch while the house was burning.

The only fatality was the family’s dog; no one else was injured. The home is considered a total loss.

“That’s how we’re going to list it as 100% loss,” Harrell said of the house. “It has significant structure damage inside. Then you have quite a bit of contents also.”

He added as he assessed the inside of the home, he saw a least three baby beds or cribs.

“What little they had was in that house,” Harrell said of the occupants. “And there’s nothing salvageable in that house.”

All the fires in the last two weeks have been caused by various circumstances, Harrell said. But he did note that in the 20 years Irwin has been with the department he said he hasn’t seen this many fires so close together.

“They have all been accidental fires,” Harrell said. “They haven’t been weather-related.”

Harrell added it’s unusual that so many of the recent fires were so far along before they were noticed and called in. Also concerning for Harrell is many of the recent fires did not have smoke detectors installed in the residences.

“We’ve had at least two occasions this week and the other day both could have been body recoveries,” he said. “There were no smoke detectors in the house (today). And that has been the last several fires, we have not had any smoke detectors.”

Families in need of a smoke detector can call SFD at 660-826-8044 or stop by SFD Headquarters, 2606 W. 16th St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to receive one for free.

The American Red Cross was called to assist the family from Friday’s fire.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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