News Archives - Central County Fire & Rescue

CCFR COVID-19 Response

Working together, keeping you safe. Our steadfast commitment to the residents of Central County Fire & Rescue remains as strong as ever through the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, our CCFR crews are just a 911 call away if an emergency arises.

Preparedness is central to everything we do. Our CCFR crews are able to rely on their hours of training and professional familiarity with emergency medicine and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely serve you during times like these. 

The health and safety of our crews is also an ever-present priority for our organization. We are doing everything we can to keep your responders safe and ready to respond. 

As a District, we have had to make some decisions about our nonemergency operations. Being active in the community is one of the best parts of our job, but for now, the best thing we can do as a community is be diligent about social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Based on recommendations from the St. Charles County Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are temporarily suspending some of our programming, including:

  • Visitors are not allowed at our fire stations or District administrative offices until further notice.
  • All nonemergency response programs are suspended until further notice. This includes:
    • Fire Extinguisher Classes
    • Car Seat Installation
    • Annual Commercial Building Inspections 
    • Station Tours
    • Community Engagement Events and Activities
  • Reluctantly, we cannot accept any food donations (including store-bought items). However, we would ask that you consider donating to a local food pantry that is in need during this time. 

We will all get through this together. Our CCFR crews thank you for your support, your words of encouragement on social media and your commitment to staying home to help keep first responders safe. If you are experiencing an emergency call 911, for nonemergencies, please call 636.970.9700.

St. Peters Resident Injured in Overnight House Fire

At around 3:20 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, a St. Peters, MO resident was awoken by a neighbor in need. Suffering from severe burns, with the victim’s house on fire, the individual had rushed to their neighbor’s house for help.

The neighbor called 911 and Central County Fire & Rescue immediately responded to the home on the 100 block of Timberidge Dr., in St. Peters. Once on the scene, firefighters confirmed everyone was out of the home, and there was a fire in the basement. As firefighters fought the fire, St. Charles City Fire Department paramedics immediately began helping the victim who suffered severe burns to the front of their body, and was transported to a local hospital for care.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, and CCFR fire investigators began working to determine the cause.

“We determined the fire was set intentionally, and have turned the investigation over to the St. Peters Police,” said CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown. It is estimated the fire caused $20,000 in damages.

CCFR was assisted by the City of St. Charles Fire Department, Cottleville Fire District, St. Charles County Ambulance District and the CCFR Community Assistance Team.

“With all of our residents spending more time at home, there is an increased risk for home fires. We are encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms, be cautious while cooking, properly disposing of smoking materials and avoid using candles unless they are battery operated,” says Brown.

Meet the Board: Patricia Hamm

As a lifelong resident of St. Peters and treasurer of the CCFR Board of Directors, Patricia Hamm is dedicated to ensuring the District’s tax dollars are used efficiently and effectively to keep the community safe.

“The Fire District is the community’s toolbox, ready to respond no matter what the emergency,” Hamm says. “As a board member, I want to make sure our firefighters, EMTs and paramedics have the training and tools they need to do the job right and get the best outcomes in an emergency situation, while also being good stewards of our community’s investment in the District.”

Hamm became a member of the board 11 years ago because she wanted to make a difference in the growing community that she and her husband, three children and a grandchild call home.

She says that the board is committed to looking for ways to improve and adapt the Fire District as the St. Peters area grows and develops.

“As we look to the future, our District is going to start to notice a change in those who serve our community,” she says, noting that many CCFR employees have been on duty for more than 25 years, since before the District was started in 1998. “I want to make sure that we are prepared for the next generation of first responders here in the St. Peters area.

“We are fortunate to have an exceptional team of professionals, and a community that is the lifeblood of the quality emergency services this team can provide. For that we are grateful, and will do whatever it takes to not let them down.

Responding to First Responders

Look around an emergency scene and you’ll notice a sense of organized chaos. Firefighters work to put out the flames, while police officers help secure the area and paramedics tend to the victims. In our area, you will also observe a team of volunteers working to support these first responders and help victims get back on their feet.

The CCFR Community Assistance Program (also known as REHAB-95 — a nickname derived from their signature red SUV) was started by a retired CCFR firefighter in 2015. Since then, nearly 40 volunteers have donated hundreds of hours to the community.

Volunteers for the program are there to help everyone on the scene. They provide victims with immediate assistance including clothing, food, shelter and one night in a hotel, along with connecting them to important community resources.

“There are many cases when a family loses everything in a house fire. This team of volunteers provides help right there on scene to help them start the recovery process,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says.

The volunteers assist first responders by providing canteen service, which includes water, coffee, snacks and, in some cases, meals.

“There are times when we are on the scene for hours at a time,” Brown says. “The Community Assistance Program’s canteen services help fuel our first responders and keep their energy up as they handle the situation. They are also an important resource for community members during their time of need.”

The team also helps provide victims and first responders with relief from the outside elements. During the summer they set up cooling stations with shade, fans and iced towels and in the winter their shelters, portable heaters and other supplies provide a break from the cold.

The Community Assistance Program is made possible through the generous support of community donations and volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with or donating to the program, please contact Mark Runge at [email protected]

REHAB-95 2019 Highlights

  • Provided canteen services to 500+ first responders
  • Assisted 14 local residents in need after house fires
  • Volunteered at 17 community and District events
  • Moved into the old CCFR Fire Station #5 on Ehlmann Road
  • Received 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status

We’re Ready For Spring Flooding — Are You?

A foot of water traveling 2 mph is all it takes to sweep away a large SUV, pickup truck or car.

With spring showers on the way, it is important to remember to avoid water-covered roads, and to never drive around a “road closed” barrier.

Within CCFR’s boundaries, there are two rivers, as well as countless creeks, lakes and ponds. CCFR crews are ready to respond to water and ice emergencies in any of these bodies of water.

Over the past five years, the District has increased its ability to provide life-saving assistance in water emergencies, with more than 35% of CCFR’s firefighters now trained in swift water rescue and operations. These crew members are all capable of safely rescuing victims utilizing the District’s two boats, which are housed at Fire Station #5, the station closest to the Mississippi River.

The boats are considered one rescue unit, always traveling together on a specialized trailer that also carries equipment for water and ice rescue operations including 25 personal flotation devices and 15 dry rescue suits. To ensure the safety of victims and first responders, both boats are often together in the water for a rescue.

The 16-foot flat bottom aluminum boat can handle the swift currents often found in rivers and can transport up to six people. It can also be connected to other boats if needed.

The light and easily maneuverable inflatable boat was designed specifically for search and rescue operations. It is light enough that just two rescuers can carry it if the need arises.

“This is extremely beneficial during flooding events, where the depth of the water can vary drastically and require the boat to be lifted over or carried short distances,” CCFR Captain Matthew Dermody says.

The boat can also remain stable in fast-moving water and be launched directly from the banks of the waterway.

These boats also allow CCFR crews to reach victims who are stranded in areas inaccessible by roads during flooding, and to provide mutual aid assistance to neighboring departments near the 10 miles of the Missouri River and 18 miles of the Mississippi River that pass through the District.

Top 5 Spring Weather Safety Tips

  1. Never enter a water-covered roadway!
  2. If you hear tornado sirens, take cover in a basement or windowless room.
  3. Stay tuned to the local news during spring storms.
  4. Keep your phone charged when bad weather is expected.
  5. Stay away from floodwaters.

Avoid DIY Disasters: Electricity

Do You Have Copper or Aluminum Wiring? The Difference Matters.

Tasked with updating those ancient light switches in the kitchen? Standing in front of the hundreds of options available at the home improvement store, you narrow it down to two choices — one is $4, the other is 75 cents. But if you don’t know what type of wiring is in your home, it’s a decision that could cost you much more than the few dollar difference between the two switches.

Your home was built with either copper or aluminum wiring. Knowing which one you’re working with is critically important when considering any electrical improvements or repairs.

Due to the exorbitant cost of copper in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many homes built during this time have aluminum wiring. It was quickly discovered, however, that the quality of the aluminum being used put these homes at a higher risk for fires. A study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that homes built before 1972 and wired with aluminum are 55 times more likely to have an outlet wiring connection reach fire hazard conditions than those wired with copper. This risk can increase if the wrong replacement parts are used or if rewiring is done incorrectly.

Copper and aluminum wired electrical systems are not interchangeable. They require different types of wiring, switches and connectors, with the aluminum components often being quite a bit more expensive than their copper counterparts.

“Beyond making sure you are using the correct type of wiring and connectors, working with electricity is tricky and dangerous, with a risk for electrocution injuries, home fires and more,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says. “When you are considering home improvement projects, leave the electrical projects to a qualified electrician. What might be a higher upfront investment will be worth it in the long run.”

Brown has witnessed these types of fires as recently as this year, when an improperly wired electric cooktop set a house ablaze right here in our community.

If you have a home built in the 1960s or ‘70s, it can be tricky to determine whether you have aluminum or copper wiring because of the way it was originally labeled. If you think you may have aluminum wiring, it is important to have your home evaluated by a qualified electrician to determine whether it should be replaced or repaired. When hiring an electrician, ensure they are licensed and have experience with both aluminum and copper wiring.

Still trying to decide which switch to get? It’s time to call an electrician.

Caution! Signs of electrical problems: (1) Hot light switches or receptacles; (2) Flickering or buzzing lights; (3) Frayed wires; (4) Circuits that don’t work; (5) Discolored outlets or switches; (6) Electrical shocks when plugging something in or touching switches; (7) Burning smell coming from outlets or switches

 

 

 

VIDEO: House Fire Helmet Camera Footage

When Central County Fire & Rescue crews arrived on the scene of a house fire on Plum Leaf Circle in St. Peters at 11:55 p.m. Monday, they were relieved to find the family and their pets standing safely on the driveway as flames billowed from the rooftop.

Knowing that everyone was safely accounted for, the team began to attack the fire. When they entered, the home was filled with smoke, but the flames were hidden in the walls and attic.

Twenty-three firefighters from CCFR, the City of St. Charles Fire Department and the Cottleville Fire Protection District worked together to get the fire under control in approximately five minutes.

“This family did everything correctly. They had a home escape plan that was put into action,  allowing them and their pets to get out unharmed,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says. 

The Central County Community Assistance program was also on the scene to provide the family with post-emergency essentials, such as clothing and a hotel room for the evening. Program volunteers also provided canteen service for the first responders.

The cause of the fire, which appears to have started on the exterior of the home, is under investigation. It’s estimated that the fire caused approximately $60,000 in damage.

The video below is compiled from CCFR helmet camera footage filmed on the scene. 

Grease Fire Causes Damage to St. Peters Home

It only takes a second.

On Monday afternoon, Central County Fire & Rescue received a call for a grease fire at a home on Trailview Avenue in St. Peters. When firefighters arrived, the fire had been extinguished, but they checked the scene to ensure the fire did not spread into the walls or ceiling, and also helped ventilate the smoke from the fire out of the house. 

“Just because the flames are not visible doesn’t mean that the fire is out. In a case like this, the team will check behind the cabinets and in the surrounding area to make sure that there is no fire in the walls or other places that cannot be seen,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says. 

Fortunately, no one was injured, but when the smoke cleared, a cast iron pan was sitting upon a shattered stove top. The built-in microwave and surrounding cabinets were also damaged by the flames and smoke. 

After a short investigation, firefighters learned the homeowner was preparing lunch and heating cooking oil in the cast iron pan. He stepped away for a moment to let his dog outside and smoke a cigarette, and then he heard his smoke alarms ringing. He turned to go back inside and discovered flames shooting from the pan up into the microwave and above the cabinets. He immediately called 911 and went to his garage to get the fire extinguisher. Unfortunately the fire extinguisher did not work, but the homeowner was able to extinguish the fire.

“The homeowner did the right thing by calling 911 immediately before attempting to extinguish the fire by himself,” Brown says. “Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. This is a good reminder to stay in the kitchen, and to make sure your fire extinguishers are not expired.” 

Fire Extinguisher Safety Tip: Check the gauge, and learn how to operate before you need it. 

Fireplace Ashes Likely Sparked House Fire

Delaware Drive House Fire

Firefighters Remind Residents To Properly Dispose of Ashes

When Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) firefighters arrived on the scene of a house fire in the 2200 block of Delaware Drive in unincorporated St. Charles County around 6:50 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, they found the rear of the home and the deck engulfed in flames. After the flames were extinguished, CCFR fire investigators discovered that fireplace ashes had been placed in a cardboard box on the deck, near the home that evening. These ashes sparked the fire, which caused more than $50,000 in damage to the home.

“Even though the ashes had cooled for nearly 24-hours in the fireplace, there was still enough heat to ignite the box, which led to the house fire. We have witnessed ashes as old as three days start fires like these, which is why it is so important to dispose of fireplace ashes in a metal container that is stored at least six-feet away from the home and deck,” said CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown.

On the night of the fire, a teenager who lives in the home smelled smoke, and heard crackling from outside. The family discovered the fire, quickly exited and called 911.

CCFR firefighters were assisted by the Cottleville Fire Protection District, the City of St. Charles Fire Department and the St. Charles County Ambulance District. There were no injuries.

Additional Resources

Fireplace Safety