Kitchen fire burns Cape house

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Martha Clark, who lived upstairs at her mother's house at 230 S. Middle St. in Cape Girardeau, may have returned home just in time to save it.

She said she saw smoke billowing from the windows as she pulled her car in front of the house. She immediately bolted inside but couldn't go much farther than the threshold because the smoke was too thick.

She ran back out the door and around the house, only to see flames shooting out the kitchen window. She called 911 at 10:15 a.m. Three minutes later, firefighters were at the scene. "No one was in the house but my dog," she said.

The dog turned out to be OK, but the house did not.

The fire and smoke damaged the house extensively.

"It's going to take quite a bit of rework," said fire marshal Mike Morgan. "It put a lot of heat and smoke to the rest of the structure."

The fire started in the kitchen, Morgan said, likely the result of a pot being left unattended on the stove.

The house belongs to Shirley Smith. Smith said she was at work when the fire started. She arrived at the scene and began crying as firefighters tried to control the blaze.

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