Blaze guts FD home
No one injured, 4 cats die in fire
A Fort Dodge home was gutted by a raging fire Saturday afternoon that burned through the roof and briefly threatened to spread to a nearby garage.
No one was hurt in the fire at 1311 17th St. S.W., but four cats died.
The blaze was reported at 2:28 p.m. By late afternoon, Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter said firefighters would be on the scene for several hours, putting out flames that were still burning in void spaces and behind walls. He said there was a lot of material in the house, creating what he called a “tremendous fire load.”
“That makes for a lot of hard work to get in and get all the fire extinguished,” he said.
Firefighters remained on the scene until 7:20 p.m. Saturday.
“Everything was a total loss,” Hergenreter said.
Fort Dodge Police Department Patrol Officer Matt Webb was on patrol in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood when he saw the smoke.
“I noticed a huge amount of black smoke coming into the sky,” he said.
He went to the house and was reporting the fire on his radio at nearly the same time 911 dispatchers were sending out the Fire Department.
“The whole back of the place was on fire,” he said.
One of the front windows shattered from the heat and a piece of glass hit Webb in the forehead even though he was standing across the street from the house. He was not hurt.
When firefighters arrived, flames were coming out of both the front and the back of the house.
Several hoselines were used. Firefighters took one of them into the front door to attack the flames, while other streams of water were directed onto the house from outside.
The Webster City Fire Department was placed on standby in Fort Dodge for about three hours during the fire. That department sent one pumper and a crew of firefighters to Fort Dodge to handle any emergencies while the Fort Dodge firefighters were committed to the 17th Street Southwest blaze.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
Hergenreter said it started in the kitchen area.
He said the homeowner left for work before 7 a.m. Saturday and no one had been in the house after that. No one was home when the fire was reported.
The two-story wood frame house is owned by Gaytan Richard, according to online records of the Webster County Assessor’s Office. It was built in 1964.