Cause of Owen Homestead Fire Still Unknown
Branson fire officials still don’t know what caused last week’s fire that destroyed the historic Owen Homestead at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area. Investigators returned to the scene Thursday, but were unable to determine what started the blaze.
Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin says there were no utilities to the structure and no severe weather in the area. According to Martin, city park’s employees have reported trespassing in the home several times as they worked to keep it secure. Martin says, “we cannot rule out the possibility that someone trespassed into the home and may have caused the fire.”
The fire was contained to the home itself. According to the city of Branson, the parks department had been preparing the home and surrounding property for “Pioneer Days,” scheduled for early October. The home was going to be open to visitors. Martin says park crews had cleared underbrush and small vegetation away from the home, which reduced the risk for a larger fire in the Lakeside Forest Wilderness area.