Kyle Troutman: Credit to responders after a busy week

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The last week has been one where local law enforcement and first responders have put in plenty of hours and deserve some recognition.

On Friday, authorities and first responders spent hours in Purdy knocking down a house fire, a blaze attributed to cooking grease getting out of control.

I had actually just left Cassville as the fire started, heading to Purdy for the softball game against Pleasant Hope. Just before getting to Butterfield, I could see the plumes of dark black smoke rising in the north, activating my journalist senses. It’s the second time in the last five years a large structure fire was visible from miles in either direction on Highway 37, the last being the Holloway Farms fire just north of Butterfield in 2016.

As I approached Purdy, I could see the home from the highway, and it was easily reached after being allowed through by Wheaton Police Chief Clint Danforth, who was directing traffic at Farm Road 1080 and Highway C, a quarter-mile north of the house. Multiple fire agencies responded to the blaze, which at that juncture was still shooting flames out of the caved-in roof above the kitchen.

Local firefighters’ ability to douse the fire win 2-1/2 hours, as well as save about half the contents of the house, is a testament to how well our local folks work together — and with efficiency. Only one injury was reported, as well, a firefighter that suffered a minor burn. We hope he or she is recovering with the same level of efficiency.

Barry County Sheriff’s Office personnel were also on hand, dealing with another issue relating to the situation. Two people were arrested at the scene for active warrants, one of whom was combative and, as of Thursday afternoon, was still listed on the Barry County jail roster.

That wasn’t the only fire of the week, as the Monett City Fire Department got assistance from Monett Rural, Pierce City and Purdy in putting out a 4 a.m. fire at the ECFO facility at 1000 County Rd. That scene was cleared seven hours later and also resulted in no injuries, but the cause is still under investigation.

This event calls for accolades in multiple areas, first, for the response level at the time of the incident, occurring while most of us were probably fast asleep and not bothered by calls over the scanner. Secondly, Monett City Fire Deputy Chief Dewayne Irwin noted the department tours local industry facilities every year and have a familiarity with the structures. That cooperation between industries and the fire departments is noteworthy, and I have no doubt it will continue.

The Sheriff’s Office, aside from the Purdy incident, also had an interesting week, dealing with two issues promptly and successfully.

Murder and attempted murder charges are not frequent in our area, thankfully, but an attempted murder charge was filed on the 18th after a man and his fiancé shot at another person near Exeter.

Deputies caught up with the pair in Exeter, recovering 300 grams, or 2/3 of a pound, of methamphetamine, along with $3,500 in cash, almost certainly from drug sales, and three handguns, along with other paraphernalia.

Our deputies are fraught with drug-fueled crimes, not dealing with shootings as often as burglaries and assaults. Many of those incidents can be attributed to residents’ habitual drug use.

This also wasn’t the only gun- and drug-related incident of the week, as two days before the alleged attempted murder, a woman brought a gun into the jail after being arrested with a hypodermic needle that field-tested positive for meth.

In that incident, the woman had hidden a .22-caliber revolver in her nether regions, carrying the weapon on her person while being transported from Roaring River State Park to the county jail.

Danny Boyd, Barry County sheriff, said such an item would typically be found on the scene, but with two male officers working the call, it took until reaching the jail for an astute female correctional officer to execute the search that revealed the gun.

At any point during both of these incidents, things could have turned very bad very quick, and they go to show how our law enforcement put their lives on the line every day, stepping into dangerous situations they may not immediately know about and handling them with professionalism and without suffering — or causing — any harm.

Credit should be given when it is due, and credit is well-deserved by our firefighters and law enforcement in these cases.

We hope they don’t become any more frequent.

Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of The Monett Times since 2014. In 2017, he was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers. He may be reached at 417-235-3135 or editor@monett-times.com.

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