MO State HS Sports
Missouri DPS: cause of Wooldridge fire is still under investigation

Missouri DPS: cause of Wooldridge fire is still under investigation

A view of some of the fire devastation in rural Wooldridge (October 26, 2022 photo courtesy of Governor Parson’s Facebook page)

The Cooper County Fire Protection District and other local agencies are still investigating to determine what caused Saturday’s massive wildfire in the Wooldridge area.

Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) deputy director Kevin Bond tells 939 the Eagle that the investigation continues.

“That’s being done on the local level in conjunction with (state) fire marshal’s office. And so that investigation is still ongoing and there’s not been a release on cause of (the) fire yet,” Bond says.

Mr. Bond is a former Pettis County sheriff. He joined Governor Mike Parson, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and first responders for Wednesday’s Wooldridge tour. Smoke permeated the area during the tour.

Numerous state departments were involved in Saturday’s massive wildfire in Cooper County, ranging from the Missouri State Highway Patrol to the state Department of Conservation. DPS deputy director Bond tells 939 the Eagle that DPS had many of its personnel in Wooldridge, on I-70 and in Jefferson City.

“The state fire marshal’s office, SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency), the Missouri State Highway Patrol, lots of our agencies were actively involved in this situation. We activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) there in Jefferson City, not only for this fire but also for other fires and other events that were going on across the state,” says Bond.

The State Emergency Operations Center is housed at Jefferson City’s Ike Skelton facility. Mr. Bond reiterates what Governor Parson told reporters in Wooldridge: that closing I-70 on Saturday for two hours was done for safety reasons due to zero visibility at the I-70 Rocheport bridge.