Putnam County 911 Dispatch received a call of a house fire at 292 S. CR 900 West at 11:22 a.m. The first responders on scene found the front of the house fully engulfed in flames and part of the second floor collapsed.
"It was basically a defensive attack until we were able to knock it back," Madison Township Chief Lee Price said.
The property is on the west side of the road and therefore in Bellmore Fire Department's district, but Price served as incident commander.
Price said the collapse of the second floor, plus several additions to the house made it a complicated fire to battle.
A tank filled with heating oil in the basement was also a complicating factor. When fire reached the tank, thick, black smoke began to roll from the home. Firefighters used chemical foam to contain the oil fire and then continued to fight the structure fire.
Homeowners Jim and Debbie Alexander were out of town at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.
Water was literally pumped across the county line to fight the fire, as Madison Township set up its fire engine on the east side of the road.
Ten of the 11 departments on scene were from Putnam County, with Greencastle, Cloverdale Township, Clinton Township, Bainbridge, Washington Township, Putnamville Correctional Facility, Roachdale, Floyd Township and Fillmore also responded.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Putnam County Operation Life and Parke County REMC also provided support at the scene.
It took nearly 4 1/2 hours to extinguish the flames, with firefighters declaring the fire out at 3:49 p.m.
Price said a cause had not been determined as of early Tuesday evening. The investigation is the responsibility of the Bellmore Fire Department.