He was trying to get rid of moles, instead he set his neighbor’s house on fire

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Photo: KTVI

RIVERVIEW, MO — A Missouri man’s attempt to take on pests in his yard backfired on Monday.

The man hoped a contained grass fire would drive out the moles burrowed underground.

But the man’s neighbor is now the one without a home.

Michael and his brother Darien were driving home when they saw one of their neighbors waving for help.

“It started right here in this little area in the middle of the yard and that is when we saw the fire,” Michael Mitchell said. “We hopped out of the car to help the neighbor that stays in this house. And we started grabbing buckets and as we were grabbing buckets it just started spreading to the front yard and then the backyard.”

The fire caught onto the side of the house next door and that’s when Darien ran to the front door.

“I was in the basement working on some music and I had it kind of loud but I heard a banging on the door,” homeowner Mark Huey said.

When Huey answered the door he saw that most of the front of his house was on fire.

“We just tried to keep going with the buckets until the fire department came and by the time the fire department came…this,” Mitchell said, pointing at the fire damage.

Huey’s neighbor told him the fire started when he was trying to burn moles out of the yard. “We have a mole infestation problem and he was trying to burn up moles and it got away from him,” Huey said.

The Riverview fire chief says because of the dry windy conditions it didn’t take this fire long to spread quickly. “So we had three backyards and a front yard going at the same time as a house,” said Keith Goldstein, Riverview fire chief.

At the time of the fire, Huey’s wife was at the hospital getting her first round of chemo treatment.

He says he is glad she wasn’t home and that the men stopped and saved his life.

“Could have been a whole lot worse. Nothing inside is damaged. The exterior of the house is a mess but I’m safe and my wife is safe and God is in control,” Huey said.

Officials say the incident is a good reminder to call your local fire department before doing a controlled burn.