Firefighters say cluttered home cause of house fire in Republic

REPUBLIC, Mo. (KSPR) -- Firefighters say unattended smoking on the back porch is the cause of a house fire in Republic Sunday.

Crews had more than the fire to battle -- they say a cluttered home and yard made it dangerous. So what can be done if you have a similar problem with your neighbors?

The two homeowners and their four dogs made it out okay, but they lost everything inside. Firefighters say there was a lot of personal belongings in the house and they were only able to get the front door open a few feet to fight that fire, then had to cut their way through the bamboo in the back.
Neighbors tell us they were concerned about the bamboo causing the fire to spread to their homes.

Garrett Tyson is the Community Development Coordinator for the City of Republic. He says when it comes to code enforcement, the city has been to this property before, and they are trying to get the property owners to comply with regulations.

"We want to do is get compliance quickly, but we also don't want a continued issue," said Tyson. "We can write a citation and they can pay a small fine but that doesn't guarantee the problem goes away that they remove the conditions that are a problem to the community."

The fire chief says the house is a total loss, and homeowners tell us they are still too shaken up to talk about what happened.

If the Republic City Council approves, there will be a city-wide cleanup day on April 22nd, where homeowners there can put out bulk items by their curb and have them collected at no cost to them. The goal is to clear out items from the property that are a nuisance or could pose a hazard.