One dead in rural Jewell conflagration in Hamilton County
JEWELL — A house fire early Monday morning near Jewell claimed the life of the resident of the home, according Jewell Fire Chief Duane Hendrickson.
Firefighters were called just after midnight to 2685 Poplar Grove to reports of “hot spots and exploding vehicles,” Hendrickson said. Firefighters found that the single-story, wood-frame house on the property was already destroyed.
“When we arrived on scene, the residence was completely consumed,” he said. “Flames had ignited up to four vehicles and some exploded.”
The fire also heated a 1,000-gallon LP gas tank which heated to the point that the excess flow valve was discharging LP gas and creating a flame.
“We were able to cool the tank down,” he said, averting an explosion.
Several other 20-pound LP tanks were ignited and exploded.
Hendrickson said the wind was somewhat of a factor as it caused the fire to spread to the garage and an a nearby abandoned house.
“This was a much larger event than we had originally thought,” Hendrickson said.
Mutual aid in the form of manpower and water was provided by Stanhope, Ellsworth and Story City fire departments. Firefighters were on scene until about 5 a.m.. suppressing the fire. The State Fire Marshall investigator arrived about 6 a.m. and is investigating the blaze to determine the cause.
Hendrickson said the occupant of the home was believed to have been in the house and a body was discovered when firefighters sifted through the debris.
The body was taken to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy, the chief said. The name of the victim has not been released yet.
Also assisting was the Hamilton County sheriff’s office and the Ellsworth-Jewell-Stanhope Police.