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Missouri lawmakers will tackle Wooldridge recovery in January, Rowden says

Missouri lawmakers will tackle Wooldridge recovery in January, Rowden says

At least 23 structures in the Wooldridge area were destroyed by Saturday’s massive blaze. Governor Parson toured the damage on October 26, 2022 (photo from 939 the Eagle’s Brian Hauswirth)

The state Senate Majority Leader describes Saturday’s massive fire in mid-Missouri’s Wooldridge as gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.

The village of Wooldridge in eastern Cooper County is located in the district of powerful Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia). Rowden toured the fire damage with the governor this week.

“You know people who have worked hard to get to the point that they have gotten in life. And for it to just be taken away in just a few moments, in moments that they don’t have any control over. It’s bad in any situation, it certainly hits a little closer to home when it’s folks that you know and represent,” Rowden told a 939 the Eagle reporter this week, during a tour of the devastated town.

The blaze destroyed at least 23 structures in Wooldridge, damaging at least 3,000 acres of land in the county. There were no fatalities nor serious injuries, a point Governor Mike Parson and Rowden have emphasized.

Leader Rowden indicates the Wooldridge recovery will be an issue that state lawmakers will address when they return to Jefferson City in January.

“We don’t know exactly what the recovery is going to look like. There is going to be multiple pieces of it, there’s going to be multiple agencies both at the executive level and at the legislative level. So I think we’ve got to figure out what the right kind of recovery looks like, and then figure out a way to resource that path,” Rowden tells 939 the Eagle. 

He emphasizes that Wooldridge residents are resilient.

Governor Parson, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), Senator Rowden and State Rep. Tim Taylor (R-Speed) spoke to impacted residents, townspeople, farmers and to the American Red Cross during this week’s tour. Smoke permeated the air everywhere, and you could see smoke still rising from some of the burned-out vehicles.