For the second time in less than a week, Fruitland firefighters found themselves battling a massive blaze with help from multiple departments.
Donna Boardman, co-owner of Flickerwood Farms Inc., 3027 Larch Lane, said no one was hurt in the fire that started shortly after 4 p.m., but the metal building that housed her baled wood shaving and feed byproduct business was a total loss.
"Everybody's safe. Everybody's accounted for. It'll be a total loss," Boardman said.
Donna Boardman said the building was insured, "but that's our business. That's been our business for 20-some-odd years -- our livelihood."
By 4:45 p.m., a column of thick, black smoke was visible as far away as the intersection of Broadway and Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau.
The business employs 11 people, Donna Boardman said.
Firefighters from the Fruitland, East County, North Cape County, Gordonville, Millersville and Jackson fire departments were on the scene, along with the fire marshal, Cape County Ambulance Service and Cape Girardeau County sheriff's deputies.
The smoke was so thick, it completely obscured a storage bin behind it, and firefighters directed water onto the flames from multiple directions, using a ladder truck to hose down the fire from above.
The blaze was the second large fire to total a business in less than a week. On Thursday night, every fire department in Cape Girardeau County provided mutual aid as Fruitland firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze that destroyed the Missouri Plastics plant at 4751 Route Y in Jackson.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating that fire, which destroyed a 100,000-square-foot building.
At Flickerwood Farms on Tuesday, the smell of damp earth eventually mingled with the wood smoke as water from the fire hoses knocked down the orange flames and soaked into the ground.
Firefighters hosed down a smoldering pile of waste sawdust and logs behind the building to keep it from flaring up and threatening a nearby structure.
Ralph Birk, assistant chief of the Fruitland Fire Department and commander for the scene, said Tuesday evening it was too early to tell what caused the fire.
As with the Missouri Plastics fire, the type of materials in the building made firefighters' work more difficult.
At Missouri Plastics, stacks of cardboard and recyclable plastics provided fuel that made the blaze hard to extinguish, Dwayne Kirchhoff, chief of the East County Fire Protection District, said Friday.
At Flickerwood Farms, wood shavings created a similar problem, Birk said.
3027 Larch Lane, Fruitland, Mo.