Fire Destroys Home: Crews battle blaze one mile west of New England

A fire destroyed a home one mile west of New England on Saturday. New England Fire Chief Joe Kathrein said the home was burnt to the ground and deemed a total loss.

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor |

The owners of the home were not present at the time.

The fire department was notified of the blaze at 1:15 p.m., though the actual start of the fire was unknown. Kathrein said it could have been burning for as much as two hours before they were notified. A passerby noticed smoke and called emergency services.

In total, 20 fire fighters  arrived, along with law enforcement and New England ambulance services. No injuries were reported.

The fire department sent two tanker units, a pumper unit and two range land skid units to fight the fire.

Kathrein told The Herald that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but early assumptions are that it started in the basement and that it appears to be an accidental occurrence.

“When we got there it seemed like the basement was on fire more than the main floor,” Kathrein said. “We’re not 100 percent yet, we’re still doing a little investigation on it.”

The fire chief added that the speed at which the fire started and spread is going to make it more difficult to determine the exact cause.

With the below-zero temperatures of the day, freezing pipes are always a concern, but Kathrein said that the cold didn’t affect their operations. Wind also did not play a factor, as gusts were at a minimum.

Fire trucks left the scene about two hours after they arrived, and though there were still some smoldering spots, the house had caved in and essentially contained any further danger.

The next closest residence was not at risk, Kathrein said, because the distance was too great.

Hettinger County Emergency Manager Ilene Hardmeyer said that the Red Cross was contacted and would be helping the family with assistance.

Donation drop off locations around New England also include Fitterer Oil and Top Line Engine and Repair.

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