A family of five is staying with relatives tonight after a morning fire left their home destroyed. The fire department got the call at 10:55 a.m. and arrived quickly at the intersection of East 3rd and David.
Assistant Fire Marshall Elliot Eldredge said the fire was started by a three-year-old who found a lighter and was pretending to cook a plastic bag in the kitchen. The fire got away from him and quickly spread.
"There was a lot of paneling inside the house which tends to make the fire burn faster, hotter and more smoke production, and that's exactly what they were describing. Very thick smoke and fast advancing fire," said Eldredge.
"The daughter was awake and the child came into the room after the fire started and alerted her to it. Then she woke up Granddad and got him out and best we can tell right now none of the smoke detectors worked. So that reminds us to check them, especially around the holidays."
The house received 50% fire damage and 80-90% smoke damage. Everyone was able to get out safely.
The fire hydrant that was closest to the house wasn't working when fire crews arrived, and according to a neighbor hadn't been working for two weeks. The fire department did not need to use a fire hydrant to put out the flames, but Eldredge said it looks like the hydrant has a leak and the city needs to fix the problem.
Red Cross volunteer Bill Curnow said the Red Cross provided additional assistance for the family such as food, clothing and bedding, but added they will be staying with relatives for the time being. He also said people need to check their smoke detectors and if you want to help the family you can donate to Red Cross.