By Echo Menges
“We had the call come in around seven o’clock for a structure fire. Our Chief got on scene and called in mutual aid. The structure was fully engulfed by the time we were on scene,” said Newark Rural Volunteer Fire Department Public Information Officer Carol York. “The responding departments were Newark, we had LaBelle, Lewistown from Western Lewis, Shelby Community, Knox City, several first responders. We had the ambulance crew on hand for rehab for fire fighters and the (Knox County) Sheriff’s (Office) as well.”
According to York, the structure, located on the south side of Highway 156, was not inhabited and no one was injured in the fire.
“We did have a couple of firefighters go to rehab. On an evening fire like this a lot of people come straight from work. They haven’t had any supper yet. It’s been a hot day. So, you expend a lot of energy and, even though we rotate people in and out, we had a couple of guys get a little bit dizzy,” said York.
York credited the large mutual aid response from fire departments from elsewhere in Knox County, Lewis County and Shelby County for keeping the fire from spreading.
“Without our mutual aid we can’t fight a fire like this. Our first goal, when we got on scene, was to protect surrounding structures. We have a structure behind us that is occupied,” said York pointing to a neighboring home.
The siding on the neighboring home was melted due to the heat from the fire.
Firefighters had to cool down a propane tank on the south side of the structure and contend with a broken power line on the north side, which was popping and arcing during the firefight. Firefighters also fought to keep the fire from spreading to the trees and out buildings in the immediate vicinity.
The firefighters knocked the fire down with water and sprayed foam on any combustible material left at the scene.
When it was all over, the structure was almost completely gone with the exception of a few charred walls and an exposed brick chimney.
The Knox County Sheriff is investigating the fire. He was on scene with a Deputy looking for anything suspicious.
“It had power to the meter base and the meter box was on the house. There was power to the house. There was not power in the house. I’m going to have the Fire Marshal come out and take a look. It’s suspicious,” said Knox County Sheriff Robert Becker.
The house is owned by Ronald Vlasz. According to the Sheriff, he does not live in the area. The last person to occupy the house was Stephanie Kincaid, and it has been a long period of time since she lived there.
“Apparently she still had belongings inside,” said Sheriff Becker.
The full interview with PIO Carol York is below.
Media: Please attribute to “The Edina Sentinel”