The Ottumwa Courier

Breaking News

Wapello County

January 29, 2013

Lightning strikes, destroys home

Estimated damages total $128,000, including contents of rural home

OTTUMWA — A home south of Ottumwa went up in flames Monday night after it was struck by lightning.

Wapello County Sheriff Deputy Don McMartin said a house fire at 17821 60th St. was reported shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Wapello County Rural Fire Chief Bryan Ziegler said his department has determined the cause of the fire was a lightning strike, which is uncommon in January.

Firefighters were on the scene from when they first received the call until around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Ziegler said the house is a total loss.

“When we were coming to the fire, you could tell the house was engulfed in fire, probably a mile-and-a-half away,” he said. “So at that point we called for mutual aid.”

Responding area fire agencies included the Drakesville, Blakesburg, Eddyville and Ottumwa Fire Departments, as well as ORMICS. The five agencies were called to be able to provide enough water and to rotate through the 35 firefighters working at the scene.

While Ziegler said the rural house was not difficult to find, once firefighters began hauling water and working on the home, the gravel roads became muddy, though not impassable.

“It was a neighbor who saw it and reported it,” he said. “But by the time the neighbor noticed it and by the time we got there, it was engulfed in fire.”

By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, all three floors were filled with flames.

“At that point, we knew we couldn’t get close to it to really fight the fire because it was too dangerous for the firefighters from the potential for collapse,” Ziegler said.

And the house did end up collapsing.

According to the assessed value, Ziegler estimates damages totaled more than $128,000, including the contents of the house.

The fire originally started on the north side of the house toward the top floors, he said, “based upon the burn pattern and what we observed when we first got there.”

But the firefighters were able to save a separate, two-car garage, as well as an LP gas tank behind the garage and a small shed north of the house.

“We were able to cool the LP gas tank to keep it from being involved,” he said. “If the garage had caught on fire, there’s a potential for the LP tank to burn, and that could have resulted in an explosion. It doesn’t mean it would have, but it could have.”

While the house is isolated on a dead-end road, Ziegler said it’s up on a hill, so the smoke and flames could be seen throughout the area.

“The whole incident went well as far as what we could do,” he said. “It’s just sad because we didn’t get the call in time to be able to save the house or its contents.”

The family who lived in the home declined help from Red Cross, telling firefighters they could stay with relatives nearby for the time being.

McMartin said no one was in the home at the time of the fire, therefore there were no injuries.

1
Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0617 OTT Wapello Co Fair color photo -L -M Come one, come all to the Wapello County Fair

    ELDON — The Wapello County Fair is just around the corner, kicking off with entries being welcomed at Wapello Hall and the Iowa Agricultural Hall from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, entries for competition will be received from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siegel, Rubel face off in forum OTTUMWA — For Steve Siegel, a political campaign is nothing new. For Tom Rubel, being the candidate is a first. Now they want the same job. Siegel and Rubel are seeking the Democratic nomination for SD 41, the Iowa Senate district which includes Ottu

    May 29, 2014

  • 0530 OTT Oak tatters picture color Oak leaves left in tatters

    OTTUMWA — Trees throughout Iowa have been terrorized by the likes of Emerald Ash Borer and other dangers in the past months and now oak trees throughout Iowa are in a little bit of more trouble because of a disease called oak tatters. Thankfully, tho

    May 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Help fight hunger OTTUMWA — The groups began with a question: How to better help Wapello County residents who don't have enough decent food. Next week, they'll decide if they've found any answers. The food security project, Growing Wapello Together, had small groups m

    May 28, 2014

  • Attempted murder trial set for July KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren County man accused of attempted murder could head to trial in a remarkably short time. Dimitrious Royal has a trial date of July 15. If that date is when the trial actually begins, it would take place just more than 11 weeks

    May 28, 2014

  • Agency aces assessment OTTUMWA — A local agency had a lot riding on the outcome of an independent review. They nailed it. "The credential we just received was to show we are a quality [organization]," said Bryan Dunn, executive director of Sieda Community Action. "It's som

    May 27, 2014

  • County backs bike rides OTTUMWA — Bike rides in Wapello County just received a personal push of goodwill from Wapello County Board of Supervisors. Tuesday, supervisors signed a resolution of support for three area bike rides to be conducted in June. The rides include the H

    May 27, 2014

  • 0527 OTT EMS week color photo -L -M ORHC celebrates EMS Week OTTUMWA — During National EMS week, May 18-24, Ottumwa Regional Health Center (ORHC) celebrated its staff, the community EMS providers and the importance of being prepared in emergency situations through education. The ambulance service at ORHC, also

    May 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moving into the future OTTUMWA — Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning joked after the board approved upgrading the county’s servers Tuesday. “You can put away your quills.” Jokes asides, Wapello County will now have more opportunity to maximize its server resources. The

    May 20, 2014

  • 0520 OTT mushroom provided -T -M Hidden treasure

    OTTUMWA — Yes, it's kind of like winning the lottery. A mushroom hunter and her family cheerfully acknowledged that feeling after stopping by the Ottumwa Courier on Monday. In one lucky search, they'd found hundreds of morels totaling 10 pounds. As u

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National