A fire of undetermined origin caused extensive damage Tuesday to a rural Peabody home whose occupants had to be alerted to the blaze by passing motorists.
The home, on Indigo Rd. between 80th and 90th Rds., is owned by Eric and Clarissa Dutton.
“It apparently started on the outside of the house, out here, and burned up the side of the house,” Clarissa’s grandfather, Randy Dallke said as he surveyed the damage. “It destroyed the house.”
The fire moved from the outside into the attic, Hillsboro fire chief Ben Stektee said. Firefighters from Hillsboro, Peabody, and Goessel all assisted in fighting the blaze. Some units were called in from Walton.
“The whole attic was on fire,” Steketee said. “We went in and started pulling down the ceiling to get to the attic, so that’s how we finally got the fire out.”
Because of smoke and water damage, the house is more than likely unlivable, Steketee said. “I’d imagine the house is a total loss.”
Dallke’s daughter, Roxanne Dallke, was in the house with Eric and Clarissa’s daughter when motorists driving by came to the door to notify them of flames on the exterior.
“People drove in, and they didn’t even know the house was on fire,” Randy Dallke said. “People came in from Indigo and warned them.”
Although the home was in Peabody’s fire district, because Steketee got their earlier, he was asked to take charge.
“Goessel got there right ahead of me, but they’d asked if I’d kick into command, so I did,” Steketee said. “So that’s why Hillsboro was in charge of the fire and not Peabody.”
After the fire was out and everything calmed down, Steketee turned the fire over to Peabody firefighters.
“I transferred command to them, and then they took over it from there,” Steketee said.
The fire was reported as under control at 3:54 p.m., but according to dispatches Peabody firefighters remained on the scene, not returning to their station until 8:33 p.m.
Firefighters were called out to the location again at 12:11 a.m. today after it was reported as having rekindled.
Along with the house, grass on the south side of the home also burned, but the fire was not thought to have started in the grass.
“A lot of grass burned along with the house, but it burned as a result of the house fire,” Steketee said. “Fortunately we had a brush truck on the way out, so I had that work on the grass right away.”
Steketee reported one Goessel firefighter suffered burns, but other than that, no injuries were reported.
“Everyone got out and everyone was safe; all the animals were safe,” Randy Dallke said. “It’s a good deal when everyone is safe.”