Firefighters from New London Fire Department and Hannibal Rural Fire Protection District were called to a house fire at 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at 62465 Oak Hill Road in Ralls County approximately eight miles south of Hannibal.

Firefighters from New London Fire Department and Hannibal Rural Fire Protection District were called to a house fire at 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at 62465 Oak Hill Road in Ralls County approximately eight miles south of Hannibal.
The first emergency responders arriving on-scene reported heavy fire through the roof of a single family ranch style home. The homeowner, Dorothy Whitley, stated she was awakened around 5:15 a.m. to a loud popping noise and her electrical service being interrupted. It was noted that there were strong thunderstorms active in the immediate area around this time. She and other family members noticed smoke coming from the roof area of the home around 6 a.m. and called 911. Firefighters initiated an attack from both inside and outside the home and were able to extinguish the fire in about an hour. They remained on scene for around another two and a half hours, working to access smoldering hot spots with extensive overhaul. The home had significant damage throughout from fire, smoke and water.
Kevin Smith, Assistant Chief of the Hannibal Rural Fire Protection District, reported it appears that the fire originated in the attic area and was most likely caused by a lightning strike. Other agencies assisting included Ralls County Sheriff’s Department, Marion County Ambulance, Ralls County Water District and the American Red Cross.