• Last modified 56 days ago (March 28, 2024)


5-alarm midnight fire destroys log home

Staff writer

Fire early Sunday in a log cabin farmhouse on 100th Rd. east of Pawnee Rd. consumed most of the house, an outbuilding, and a henhouse, but no one was injured because resident Amy Stutzman was away.

The house was fully engulfed when firefighters from Peabody, Florence, Hillsboro, Goessel, and Marion arrived. The fire was reported by a neighbor across the road, who saw it at 12:15 a.m.

“When he called in, he said the house and an outbuilding were on fire,” emergency manager Marcy Hostetler said.

Tankers dropped off water, then refilled and brought more water.

One firefighter owned land nearby, and water also was drawn from a well on his property, Peabody Fire Chief Colton Glenn said.

“We had to call in to have the pumps turned on in Peabody, and they had them on pretty quick,” Hostetler said.

Log cabins hold heat for an extended time, making flare-ups likely. The metal roof on the house created extra heat, Hostetler said.

Firefighters had to extinguish spot fires multiple times and remained on the scene 10 hours to make sure the fire was out, but they were called back when it rekindled early Tuesday.

Weather conditions made fire fighting more difficult.

“We had high winds that night, and they got worse as the morning went through,” Hostetler said.

Temperatures dropped to 22 degrees, and cloud cover from a storm made it difficult for firefighters to see. A portable light tower was brought to the scene to assist.

With the cloud cover and the house’s location at the top of a hill, the fire was visible throughout the area, Hostetler said.

“If you lived in that area, you couldn’t miss it,” she said.

Glenn was thankful other departments helped fight the fire.

He especially noted the expertise of Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee and Goessel Fire Chief Matt Voth. The house fire was Glenn’s first since he became chief in July.

“I want to give a big thanks to Matt and Ben,” he said. “They’re an asset to the county. They have a wealth of knowledge that I wish I could buy from them, but I guess you have to experience it first-hand.”

Livestock on the property seemed to escape injury. Chickens in a henhouse were clustered together. None left the building, and none were injured.

“The henhouse was three-quarters of the way burned down,” Glenn said. “There was a piece of that still standing.”

A horse was far enough away to escape injury.

Two Peabody firefighters quickly put out the rekindled fire Tuesday.

“They were only out there a few minutes,” Glenn said. “They got paged out at 5 a.m., were finished by 5:20, and cleared scene at 5:33.

“The neighbor who was keeping an eye on the property called and said he was seeing a little bit of smoke.”

A fire marshal was called to investigate the fire. Hostetler said the marshal’s office asks that investigators be called any time a structure fire happens.

“It’s standard operation now,” she said.

Last modified March 28, 2024