Home lost in Christmas Eve fire

Sunday, December 25, 2022
Firefighters begin to attack a blaze which destroyed a home in Monroe Township Saturday evening. Manpower and apparatus from departments countywide responded.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

A Monroe Township home was destroyed in a blaze that called upon a host of apparatus and personnel from various fire departments Saturday evening.

A box alarm was established at about 5:10 p.m. for a structure fire at 2725 E. CR 400 North. Engines from the Bainbridge Volunteer Fire Department and the Greencastle Fire Department arrived to fire going through the roof of the home’s main part and a section on one side.

A second box alarm was dropped to mobilize the county’s tankers along with other engines. The volunteer departments which responded as such included Floyd Township, Clinton Township, Russellville, Roachdale, Madison Township, Fillmore, Reelsville, Cloverdale Township and Jefferson Township. Volunteers from Bellmore and Hendricks County also came.

Firefighters got at the blaze from all sides as a defensive operation. Aside from ammunition exploding, they also had to be conscious of power lines to the home which sparked as the response was ramping up. Parke County REMC later arrived and rerouted the power from the home to two separate barns.

Bainbridge Fire Chief Kevin Thorson noted that a basement covered a third of the home’s bottom level while crawl space made up with the rest. Firefighters could not make entry into the structure as the floor became compromised.

Though the wind was not as strong as it was on Friday, time became of the essence with apparatus freezing up at the scene. At one time, two salamander heaters were used to thaw out Greencastle Fire’s engine.

A drop tank was eventually set up to keep water available as tankers traveled to and from Bainbridge on refilling. An engine was also supplied by a succession of tankers, while tools were utilized from apparatus which were frozen.

Cloverdale Township Fire Chief Kerry Shepherd empties water into a drop tank during the operation. Keeping water available was a concern with apparatus freezing.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

“We were just trying to keep trucks from freezing, keep the water going, keep the water coming in,” Thorson said. “Temperature-wise, we’re at Mother Nature’s mercy.”

The fire was marked as suppressed by 8:25 p.m., after which firefighters conducted salvage and checked for extensions. Command was terminated by 9:15 p.m. Roughly 80,000 gallons of water were used to knock down the blaze.

The Red Cross was called to assist the resident. Other emergency agencies at the scene included Putnam County EMS, Putnam County CERT and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The county highway department also brought salt to melt ice.

Thorson said that a cause for the fire, as well as where it originated, could not be determined because of the destruction.

Besides the home being a total loss, a group of cats perished in the incident. One firefighter had an eave fall on him but sustained minor injuries. No other injuries otherwise were reported.

According to Putnam County GIS, the property is listed to Jesse Ader.

“Any fire I hate, but I hate the ones where there isn’t much that we can save,” Thorson summed up. “Unfortunately, that is part of living in a rural area. There’s only so much we can do.”

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  • Thanks to all the firefighters who braved the cold and dangerous conditions to try and save this house. You are much appreciated.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Sun, Dec 25, 2022, at 5:16 PM
  • awful

    -- Posted by beg on Sun, Dec 25, 2022, at 8:19 PM
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