Friday, August 10, 2012

Gannett home destroyed by fire

Cause of daytime blaze still unknown


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Firefighters enter the rear of a Gannett home that was destroyed by fire Wednesday afternoon. The Carey Rural Fire Department chief said the fire damaged a neighboring home as well. Photo by David N. Seelig

Flames engulfed a home in Gannett on Wednesday afternoon, destroying the home and requiring four agencies to extinguish it.

Carey Rural Fire District Chief Richard Kimball said that the department received reports of a house fire at 303 N. Second St. in Gannett at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

No one was injured in the blaze, and Kimball said the house was unoccupied at the time.

"All of the occupants were actually up in Hailey when the fire started," he said.

The firefighters who responded to the blaze were in Bellevue when the call came out, but Kimball said that a Carey Quick Response Unit EMT arrived on scene shortly after the call came out and made sure no one was in the house.

Kimball said Carey's first engine arrived on scene at 2:13 p.m., and the department quickly called for help from Wood River Fire & Rescue, the Bellevue Fire Department and the Hailey Fire Department.

"The roof was burning, the kitchen and living room windows had broken and there were flames showing out of there," Kimball said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, though an insurance investigator is expected to arrive to determine the cause on Friday.

"All we know is that we think it started somewhere in the kitchen," Kimball said.

A second home was also threatened by the fire, but sustained only minor damage. Kimball said the home immediately to the east of the one burning was threatened before a Carey firefighter extinguished flames on the first home's deck, keeping the blaze from spreading to a fence and onto the adjoining property.

"It actually melted the power meter, and some of the paint scorched," he said.

There were no occupants in the second home, either, though there were several dogs. Kimball said that the dogs were uninjured and that the firefighters were prepared to evacuate them if necessary.

"Apart from being scared and realizing there were a lot of people around, they were fine," he said.

One major concern was the red-flag fire weather warning in effect on Wednesday afternoon, in which the National Weather Service called for thunderstorms and high winds.

"I was afraid that if those thunderstorms moved in and we started getting wind, we'd have an exposure problem with the other houses," Kimball said.

However, that wasn't the case. Crews contained the blaze around 6 p.m. Wednesday, and Carey firefighters were present until midnight to ensure the fire did not blaze up again.

All but one of Carey's 22 active volunteers showed up at the scene to help at some point, Kimball said.

The house was a total loss, however, according to Kimball.

"I'm assuming it's a total loss," he said. "I don't see how they can do anything but tear it down and start over."

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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