Fire and ice: Fire does severe damage to southwest Jamestown home, kills owner’s two dogsDuane Duff looked on in disbelief as firefighters screamed “No! No! Get out!” to one another seconds before fire knocked the front upstairs windows out of his Jamestown home. Crews from the Jamestown Fire Department were called out around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday to the scene in southwest Jamestown for a fire described by the officer who called it in as “fully involved.”
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Duane Duff looked on in disbelief as firefighters screamed “No! No! Get out!” to one another seconds before fire knocked the front upstairs windows out of his Jamestown home.
Crews from the Jamestown Fire Department were called out around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday to the scene in southwest Jamestown for a fire described by the officer who called it in as “fully involved.”
“What are you going to do? You know everything can be replaced,” Duff said. “It’s just property and nobody got hurt.”
The fire, which 31 firefighters were dispatched to with six units, had a good start before crews got there, said Fire Chief Jim Reuther. He reported two minor injuries — a shoulder strain and a minor case of frostbite as temperatures hovered around 5 degrees below zero.
“This is a situation today where we could’ve had very easily hurt somebody or had somebody trapped there,” Reuther said. “This is one of the bad days.”
Smoke poured out of the house for blocks as fire engulfed the inside of the house Duff and his wife Marcie have called home since 1992.
Reuther said he believed the fire started downstairs in the basement on the west side of the house. It burned through the ground floor and was making its way upstairs when an evacuation call for all units was put in place.
The siren telling firefighters to get out of the building went off seconds before the flames burst through the upstairs window panes.
“In conditions like this it’s just more apt to happen that injuries are going to occur and a fire this size, everybody’s hearts are going 100 mph all the time,” he said.
Shortly after the windows blew out, Reuther said he saw a staircase in total flames.
“Basically you can say the whole structure was full of fire,” he said.
The crew was on the defensive because the fire had a headstart before they arrived. Because of this they had to fight the blaze from the outside instead of putting it out at the source, inside.
Crews used ladders, chainsaws, fans, axes and more to try to contain and extinguish the blaze.
“We had our whole arsenal out, basically,” Reuther said.
Duff, who came straight to the scene from his job at the North Dakota State Hospital, lost his dogs Maggie and Lacey, in the Tuesday morning blaze.
“I lost my two dogs and that hurts, but it’s just a house,” he said.
With the amount of damage to the property, Reuther said it might be hard to find the cause. But he plans to investigate today after hot spots have a chance to go out and the building gets properly ventilated of carbon monoxide.
“This fire had a go on us before we got there,” he said.
This ends a long period this winter in which there have been no serious fires in the extreme cold the season has offered up.
Reuther said the last time a firefighter was injured on scene was back around last August.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com