The Ottumwa Courier

August 16, 2013

House fire considered suspicious

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — This house fire was not a training exercise.

The Ottumwa Fire Department responded to a house fire at 126 S. Schuyler St. around 7:15 a.m. Friday. Neighbors watched firefighters blast the house with water from three sides as smoke billowed out of every window and door.

Just yesterday, firefighters trained on how to handle a house fire at a house by lighting a donated house on fire at Hammond Avenue and Harding Street. On Friday, they were able to apply what they had learned.

Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge said no one was in the house at the time of the fire, so there were no injuries, but he is considering the fire suspicious. A cause was unknown Friday morning, but Benge said an investigation will be completed once the fire and smoke subside.

"Due to the way the upstairs building was constructed, with the metal roof and additions, it hinders firefighting operations," he said. "With a metal roof, we can't stand on it, it keeps the fire and smoke concealed and it's hard to cut through."

Benge said the bulk of the fire and smoke was coming from the kitchen and back porch area.

More details will be provided throughout the day.