In a busy week that saw county firefighters summoned nearly two dozen times, Marion, Peabody, and Florence firefighters and Marion’s sheriff battled a structure fire for 2 ½ hours Thursday in the 200 block of 6th St. in Florence.
The home, owned by William Shearer, was empty at the time, and no one was injured. When Shearer couldn’t be reached, relatives came to see the fire.
Marion fire chief Mark Killough thought the fire looked suspicious and requested a state fire marshal to investigate. State fire marshal Chris Mercer said Friday that he thought the fire might have been an accident.
The fire seemed to start on the western side of the building and spread into the attic. Recordings of emergency dispatches indicate there was some initial confusion about the location of the fire, which was reported by a Florence firefighter.
Between March 1 and 7, firefighters from Hillsboro, Marion, Lehigh, Peabody, Florence, Goessel, and Burns were called out to 16 fire-related emergencies. Several times, they went outside the county to cover fires or fire stations whose units were all occupied.
While the Florence structure fire was burning, applications for new controlled burns in the county temporarily were denied with so many fire stations out or recovering from other calls, which included a rekindled fire in the 600 block of Peabody and an out of control grass fire at 30th and Pawnee Rds.