Joplin firefighters rescue elderly woman from burning house

Apr. 25—Firefighters encountered heavy smoke Wednesday afternoon when they entered a burning house on the north side of Joplin to rescue an elderly woman trapped inside.

The Joplin Fire Department responded at 5:20 p.m. to a Life Alert activation at 2811 N. Brownell Ave., indicative of a possibility that an occupant was unable to get out.

There was smoke pouring from the single-story structure as fire trucks arrived within three and a half minutes of the alert, according to a city news release. Firefighters encountered thick smoke inside when they forced entry to the house and located and rescued an 81-year-old woman with the assistance of a thermal-imaging camera.

The name of the victim, who was taken to a local hospital in serious condition, has not been released. Four dogs also were rescued from the home and turned over to the city's animal control officers in good condition.

Fire damage was confined to a bedroom and adjacent room, with heat and smoke damage throughout the house. No firefighters were injured on the call, which drew the assistance of Webb City firefighters as well as police. All units had cleared the scene by 7 p.m.

The city fire marshal subsequently determined the cause of the fire to have been discarded smoking materials on a bed.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.