Daily Union Staff Writer
No injuries were reported in any of the three fires that occurred in the county over the weekend.
A rural Shelbyville teen escaped tragedy when passersby noticed smoke coming from the house and awakened the youth before 8 a.m. Saturday.
Dalton McKittrick, 15, was the only person at home when the fire erupted at the Troy McKittrick residence located on the Clarksburg road.
“There was fire shooting out of the roof when we got there,” said Benny Durbin, Shelbyville Fire Department engineer. The fire apparently started around the chimney area of the structure leaving the home with heavy damage. The cause is undetermined.
The snow-covered, icy road conditions hampered travel to the scene.
“It took time to get there,” said Dick Naron, Shelbyville Fire Department engineer.
The fire department was on the scene for nearly three hours. Findlay, Tower Hill, and Windsor fire departments responded with mutual aid.
A kerosene heater was the likely cause for a garage fire in rural Windsor Sunday afternoon.
“Indications are a kerosene heater was being used to try to thaw out a snowmobile,” said Windsor fire chief Rick Allen. “I believe it was the culprit in this case.”
The fire was confined to the garage area of the home rented by Todd Ratliff located two miles east of Windsor on Route 16. His teenage daughter was the only one home at the time. There were no injuries.
“The glazed block garage kept the fire contained to the garage although the house did suffer minor smoke damage,” Allen said. “We got it all under control quickly. It (the garage) is still structurally okay, but the ceiling needs to be replaced.”
Shelbyville and Strasburg fire departments responded with tankers to the scene.
Allen also commended the Whitley township snowplow operators for making sure the drive was open so the fire departments could get to the scene. He also thanked the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department for traffic control on Route 16.
Allen advises people to be careful where they set heaters. “It’s just one of those times of year you’ve got to be extra careful.”
A rural Oconee man came home to find the floor of his home already burning Sunday night.
Pana firefighters, with help from its satellite department in Oconee and mutual aid from Ramsey and Nokomis responded to the 8:37 p.m. call.
“The home was completely engulfed when we arrived,” said Pana fire chief Rod Bland. “We were able to stop the fire at the garage, but the home was completely destroyed.”
Greg Carter told Bland that when he returned home from town and opened his front door, he found the floor completely on fire.
“Opening the door probably accelerated the spread of the fire,” Bland said. Bland also said he believes the fire probably started in the basement of the home where laundry appliances and the furnace are located.
A large machine shed that also stored hay and contents of the garage were saved from the fire. Bland added that a nearby propane tank was also quickly cooled down..
“We did not call the fire marshal – there is nothing left to examine,” Bland said. The cause of the fire is reported as undetermined.