Log in

Van Natta Road fire destroys family home


At 4:25 a.m. Tuesday, June 18, the Pettis County Fire Protection District received a call and rushed to the home of Anthony and Brittany Salmons in the 2500 block of Van Natta Road in western Pettis County.

“Upon arrival, we had the main structure of the house fully engulfed,” Pettis County Fire Chief Mike Harding told the Democrat, "with the South side of the house over the garage area with structural collapse, fully engulfed, and fire moving towards the rest of the house. The female homeowner had awoken and had notified her family to go ahead and get the rest of her family out. She had tried to put a little bit of water on the blaze and was unsuccessful but was able to get all the family members out except for one dog.”

Harding confirmed the cause of the fire was a candle, as was confirmed by Brittany Salmons.

“I had gone to sleep on the couch and didn't realize there was a candle lit, I got up and I guess when I moved my pillow, the pillowcase landed above the candle,” Brittany said. “I came back from the bathroom and the couch was on fire. I ran in my kitchen, tried to put it out, but it was spreading too fast. There was already smoke throughout the house.”

Brittany woke her husband, Anthony, who roused their young daughters and Brittany’s father and got them out of the blaze safely. They were also able to get the smallest of their two dogs to safety.

“I got a big one and a small one,” Anthony explained. “She woke up, woke me up, I got the littlest one up and then we got out the back door, I tried to get the big dog, but he took off running towards the back and went into my office, and thankfully it wasn't completely shut, but he was able to nose his way in there, somehow shut the door.”

Pettis County Fire and La Monte Fire responded with around 17 pieces of apparatus and 35 firefighters.

“They got here within probably 20 minutes, and they ran in there,” Anthony said. “So I think we had two of their own trucks and then they brought in volunteers from La Monte and La Monte trucks came in to do the rest. I think they had four or five trucks total full of water because they can't refill out here.”

Brittany feared the worst for their beloved Great Dane, Maverick, who she said was in the engulfed home for two hours.

“I had specifically said, ‘please don't bring him out in front of my girls,’ assuming he was dead,” Brittany recalled. “My husband had tried to knock out some of the back windows of our youngest daughter and his office to try and see if we could get him.”

Their rescue efforts were a failure, but firefighters were eventually able to enter the home and went to the back room where Maverick had fled.

The family felt a gush of relief when a firefighter walked out the front door, carrying Maverick safely in his arms.

“The firefighter came right through our front door carrying him and he took off,” Brittany said. “It was the best feeling in the world knowing he was OK.”

Maverick had suffered minor burns to his tail and back legs but was taken to a local vet and returned to his loving family in good condition.

The Salmons’ joy at saving Maverick was shared by the firefighters involved in his miraculous rescue. They told the family that Maverick would have surely died had he not closed the door behind him.

“It was an amazing feeling to see that dog still alive,” Harding said. “When we got there and saw how much was involved and then for our guys to go in and make interior and to get this dog out and the dog to be alive, it was an amazing feeling.”

Within hours, family and friends showed up to help salvage what little material goods could be saved, including a wedding ring found in the charred bedroom.

“We lost all of our vehicles, mine, my husband’s, our 16-year-old’s,” Brittany said. “We lost everything, but we all survived, thankfully, and that's all that matters.”

Asked if they needed help, Brittany said they had family to support them, and a family friend unknown to them started a GoFundMe account to help as they rebuild their lives.

To contribute to the fund, visit tinyurl.com/3trjncnf.

Chris Howell can be reached at 660-530-0146.