Investigators look for cause of Columbia duplex fire

Neighbors report trouble getting through to 911 dispatch

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia fire investigators remained on the scene of a duplex fire Wednesday night on Quail Drive in the north part of town.

When the first units arrived in the 2700 block around 8:40 p.m., firefighters saw flames coming from two windows, at least one from a bedroom of the duplex.

Everybody from inside the duplex was outside when crews arrived and no one reported any injuries.

Neighbors told ABC 17 News the smoke was thick.

"The smoke came in really fast you could barely see it was hard to see and we had to close the windows," said Tammy Peterson, two buildings down from the fire.

Another problem neighbors reported was a delay in getting through to 911 dispatch operators to report the fire.

"When [my neighbor] came in there and told me to call 911, we tried to call like three to four times and couldn't get through," said Satina Shields, who lives in the adjacent duplex. "We started walking down the street asking everybody outside to call 911 and they said they're trying to get through."

Duplex "A" suffered fire, smoke, and water damage. The neighboring duplex suffered serious smoke damage.

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