Electrical fire displaces local family

Faulty wiring was determined to be the cause of a fire Thursday that damaged a Hillsboro home on South Main.

Two units from the Hillsboro Fire Department were dispatched midmorning to a residence at 216 S. Main in response to a 911 call from Virginia L. Tarbox, who lived in the house with her husband, William L. Tarbox, and six children.

Virginia Tarbox told Police Chief Dan Kinning she had smelled smoke, went upstairs and noticed a light fixture was on fire.

Fire Chief Ben Steketee said the fire was contained to the roof of the second floor.

The house is owned by Tarbox’s mother, Twila Lackey of Galva.

Tarbox and the children, Elizabeth Partridge, 16, William Partridge, 4, April Alder 8, Jennifer Alder, 10, Samuel Tarbox, 10, and Joshua Tarbox, 8, were treated by Emergency Medical Services for possible smoke inhalation. Elizabeth was transported to Hillsboro Community Medical Center for further evaluation.

The house was deemed inhabitable by officials on the scene.

“The fire damaged the interior of the roof, so structurally it needs some repair,” said Steketee. “But I wouldn’t say there was extensive fire damage.

“While we were in there, though, we found the electrical to be not up to code, the flu on the water heater was dangerously not up to code and so the city electrician pulled the meter and the gas company came and blocked off the gas meter and the water was shut off. They don’t want anyone moving into the house until it’s brought up to code.”

The American Red Cross provided immediate lodging for the Tarbox family. The Hillsboro Area Ministerial Association has since opened a “Tarbox Fire Assistance Fund” at the Hillsboro State Bank.

Tim Kliewer, HAMA secretary, said some local churches are opening an assistance fund for the Tarbox family. If donors desire a tax receipt, they may want to give through their local church.

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