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Homeowner In Montgomery County Recalls Watching Flames Approach - KOAM TV 7

Homeowner In Montgomery County Recalls Watching Flames Approach His Home Yesterday

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     Stories coming in from that fire in Montgomery County - one homeowner and his wife tried to extinguish the flames on their own as they spread toward their home.
Dan Russow, homeowner: "There was no way we could have got it under control even in our short grass, it was just burning so quick."
Dan Russow recalls the flames rolling up this hill, directly in front of his home in rural Montgomery County.
Russow: "They had the helicopters, they had so many volunteer fire departments that came in, the paid fire departments that showed up, just extremely lucky that they were able to come out here and really get it stopped before it took our house."
The helicopters Russow is talking about - from the Kansas National Guard, making six drops alone in front of his home.
Rick Whitson is the Montgomery County Emergency Manager, and the district fire chief for the volunteer departments.
Around 10 homes were in the line of fire and Whitson says he's relieved they were able to contain the fires before any major property was lost.
He credits the dedication of the firefighters on scene - and the aide of the helicopters.
Rick Whitson, Montgomery County Director of Emergency Management: "Without the helicopters I'm certain that the loss would have been more extensive than it was just because I personally witnessed several events when the helicopters did save whatever structure was in imminent danger."
In terms of protecting your property, Whitson says to *safely* fight fire, with fire.
Whitson: "So, if you burn in advance, and you burn a coordinated organized fire, you can prevent that fire in the future, and having water resources and being prepared as far as extinguishing factors."
For Russow, the most frustrating part, is this fire wasn't an accident.
Russow: "We built this house, put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the property, and to know somebody intentionally set this fire is very frustrating, you work so hard for something and then they try to burn it down."
     Officials tell us they estimate 1,500 acres were burned in Montgomery County alone.
 

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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