Half the Town Burned: The Great Wooldridge Fire of 2022

LuLu Books

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Half the Town Burned: The Great Wooldridge Fire of 2022 by Tim Scherrer

This is the true story of a wildfire that wiped half of a Missouri village off the map.

The Great Wooldridge Fire on the 22nd of October 2022, burned half of the village of Wooldridge off the map in less than two hours. The fire triggered the largest statewide fire mutual aid in Missouri History. The fire was fought by 161 firefighters from 63 departments from all over the State of Missouri. Three residents nearly lost their lives. Seasoned leaders of fire departments stood and watched the fire at moments. They’d never seen anything like it.

Most people have no idea what happened in Wooldridge last fall. The fire left most residents, living on the edge of poverty, struggling to meet basic needs. Half the Town Burned tells the story of the first responders reacting to the largest wildfire of their careers and the residents trying to pick up the pieces, their entire lives changing in mere hours. The volunteers of the Cooper County Fire Protection District along with their local mutual aid partners, carried the load of the fire until statewide mutual aid arrived.

Research includes interviews with 46 witnesses, review of official records, 75 media reports, 911 call and fire department radio chatter. Few fires have been documented from the angles of the residents, firefighters, law enforcement, and state emergency management officials. Half the Town Burned is a case study for fire departments and emergency management agencies on all aspects of a disaster.

About the Author

A native of Quincy, Illinois, Tim Scherrer received his B.A. and M.A. in History from Truman State University where he was also a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Army ROTC program. He also studied at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has worked at Truman State University and taught Military Science and Military History at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also served as Director of College Placement/Counseling and Instructor of American and Military History at Missouri Military Academy. He is the Dean of Academics at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School in Columbia, MO. He served as a Lieutenant Colonel 28 years in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer. He received the Knowlton Award from the Military Intelligence Corps Association in 2015 and was inducted into the Army ROTC Hall of Fame at Truman State. He lives in Columbia, MO.

Product Specifications

Published by LuLu Books, 2023. Paperback, 348 pages.