The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

March 26, 2013

Family, firefighters unhurt in Friday fire

Homeowners may want to check their own laundry rooms

OTTUMWA — It’s a painful way to get an education about hazards around the home: A neighbor’s house is destroyed by fire.

The culprit in last week’s blaze in the 400 block of South Davis Street, said the city’s top fire investigator, was the clothes dryer.

Around 8 p.m. Friday, the Ottumwa Fire Department arrived at the house.

“The house was fully [engulfed] when we arrived,” said Ottumwa Assistant Fire Chief Cory Benge, the city’s fire marshal.

An eyewitness said she saw smoke before the fire department arrived, then, within five minutes, flame started shooting out the front of the house near a picture window and front door. It went up quick, the witness reported.

“They had four people in the house,” said Chief Tony Miller, “three children and an adult. They smelled smoke, the smoke detectors went off and they all got out of the house. “

No firefighters were injured.

At the point it appears a structure will be lost to flames, the main objective becomes protecting neighboring houses, he said. They were able to do that but could not save the house.

“It was the dryer,” said Benge. “An issue with the lint trap.”

And no, agreed the assistant chief, it’s not an obvious thing people think about normally, especially when considering the possible destruction of their residence.

“I went home and reminded my wife,” he said.

He and the chief added that there was another contributing factor to Friday night’s fire. The dryer had clothing pressed against it. But why would that be a problem?

“It needs to get cool air circulating,” said Miller, “to cool those heating elements.”

Clothing or other objects can act to insulate the machine, almost creating an oven and allowing it to get so hot any lint in the trap can begin to smolder and burn.

That may not be obvious either, they said. Which means there may be other homes in Ottumwa right now where the dryer has no room to breath or has a full or missing lint trap.

On an Ottumwa Courier social media page, the adult who lived in the house said it took too long for the firetrucks to get there. She wrote having to go through Mahaska County emergency dispatchers slowed the process. Ottumwa’s 911 system was damaged recently and is currently not operational.

“That is being investigated,” acknowledged the chief.

Benge said the police lieutenant in charge of dispatching and communications at the Wapello County Law Center is checking to see if there was a delay related to the change is procedure and why the delay occurred.

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 Right side up monster truck pic Nice driver --- mean machine OTTUMWA --- Drivers sat at one end of their vehicles during the "pit party," meeting fans and signing autographs before the motorsport and monster truck exhibition at Bridge View Center this weekend. Monster truck driver Orville Hill let kids --- and

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 OTT Composting ethical pic Recycling in a garden OTTUMWA --- Parents will tell you: They hate to see kids waste food. A gardner named Scott Koepke feels the same way. “First, let’s get our food to people who are going to eat it,” he said. “It hurts me to see kids in the schools throw away an entire

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0412 OTT Pothole color photo -T -M [Duplicate] A bumper crop of potholes OTTUMWA — The nice weather has been putting the bad roads on display. Officials say good: It gives us a chance to fix them. “Every city is going through the same thing,” said Larry Seals, Ottumwa Public Works director. “It has been an unusual winter

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home in a tent OTTUMWA -- As people live without shelter, they become desperate finding a place to sleep. The situation impacts more than just the community's homeless. "There is nowhere to put people who are homeless," said Mary Margaret Butler. "Nowhere." Ottumwa

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Martha Speaks color photo -T -M Ottumwa children visited by cartoon star OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting. One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National