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Pets perish in fire

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Capt. Jason Vandi, of the Fort Dodge Fire Department, right, communicates with fellow firefighters Thursday afternoon during a working fire at 325 Second St. NW.

Thick gray smoke billowed out of a Fort Dodge home that caught fire Thursday, claiming the lives of two family pets, according to Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter.

No other injuries were reported in the blaze.

The Fort Dodge Fire Department was dispatched to 325 Second St. N.W. at 2:07 p.m.

When fire crews arrived, heavy smoke encompassed the one-story frame house. Flames were visible in the back half of the home.

Julie Geopfert, the property owner, was not home at the time of the fire.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Jason Reynolds, of the Fort Dodge Fire Department, right, and Dennis Feldman, Fort Dodge fire marshal and community risk reduction coordinator, move a house during a house fire at 325 Second St. NW. on Thursday.

“I left a little after 7 this morning,” she said.

Geopfert, who is known in the community for her involvement with the Webster County Democrats, said she was called by a neighbor shortly after the fire became visible.

Geopfert was visibly distressed as she watched firefighters work the scene.

Firefighters conducted an interior attack.

“We took two hand lines inside,” Hergenreter said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Fort Dodge firefighters work the scene of a house fire at 325 Second St. NW. on Thursday.

Hergenreter said firefighters were aware that two family dogs were inside the home, but were unable to save them.

“We knew they were in there,” Hergenreter said. “They were found inside.”

The home had extensive smoke damage throughout, with heavy fire damage in the living room, bedroom and attic.

Firefighters remained on scene for more than an hour.

The department planned to continue putting out hot spots as needed.

An investigation is underway as to the cause and origin of the fire.

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