Fire burns half of Missouri town

WOOLDRIDGE, Mo. (HPD) β€” A wildfire has devastated nearly half of a Missouri town and destroyed or severely damaged 23 buildings, authorities said.

No one died and only one person was taken to hospital, but their injuries were not serious. Still, the town of Wooldridge had to be evacuated Saturday because of the fire, which started in a nearby farm field.

A patch of Interstate 70 had to be closed for two hours Saturday because smoke obscured vision.

Between 3,000 and 3,500 acres (1,200 and 1,400 hectares) were burned before the fire was brought under control, said Jim Gann, a spokesman for local firefighters.

Firefighters on Sunday were trying to put out incandescent lights, and strong winds were expected for the afternoon.

Wooldridge is a town of fewer than 100 people about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Columbia on the Missouri River.

Stephen Derendinger, an engineer with the Jamestown Fire Fighting Unit, said half the town is burned.

β€œShe is devastated,” the official commented.

Firefighters managed to protect the Wooldridge Baptist Church, the local community center and the local post office. They had to use water from pools in the area to put out the flames.

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