A fire in wee hours of Thursday morning severely damaged a house at 602 S. Lincoln in Hillsboro. The owners and residents, Timothy and Asia Frye and their 18-month-old daughter, escaped without injury.
The call to the Hillsboro Fire Depart?ment came in at 1:36 a.m. HFD volunteers arrived on the scene within two minutes and found the garage fully engulfed, according to Chief Ben Steketee, who was first on the scene. He said by the time he arrived neighbors were already coming to the aid of the Fryes.
?This was an extreme situation,? Steketee said. ?Not only do you have the extreme cold, but you have a fire on top of it and a family with a youngster. All the neighbors were banding together to help out. I was really impressed by that.?
The department?s brush truck was the first engine to arrive on the scene. Firefighters were greeted by temperatures hovering around zero degrees with a strong north wind. The wind kept the flames from jumping to the house owned by Dennis and Tracy Boldt just south of the Frye residence, Steketee said, but it also pushed the flames back toward the Frye?s house.
The flames were too extreme to send anyone back into the house to save personal belongings, according to Steketee.
?We attacked the fire head on, right there at the garage because the Boldt house was in danger of catching fire, too,? he said. ?We wanted to get that cooled down and darkened down as quickly as we could to keep it from spreading to the Boldts?.?
Even so, the south end of the Boldt house sustained heat damage to the exterior siding and a broken window.
Steketee said the fire was extinguished relatively quickly, with cleanup operations commencing within an hour. He characterized the damage as significant.
?The garage is completely destroyed, the kitchen sustained heavy damage and the roof sustained some damage?and some of the damage we did by pulling the Sheetrock down (to get to the fire in the attic),? Steketee said.
?I think it?s restorable,? he added. ?The garage needs to be totally rebuilt, but I think we saved the greater percentage of the structure. It?s remarkable.?
The cause of the fire is not known at this time.
Ironically, Steketee said at their weekly fire drill on Wednesday, he and his crew had gone over procedures and tips for fighting fires in extreme cold conditions.
?It?s such an amazing coincidence,? he said.
Timothy Frye teaches math at Tabor College; Asia Frye is the youth pastor at First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro. According to a knowledgeable source, several housing options for the Frye family have emerged, although it was not clear by early afternoon at where they will live. First Mennonite is making arrangements to ensure their immediate needs are being met.
Following is a list of clothing sizes from First Mennonite Church that can be donated for the family now.
Size 38/30 pants and medium short for Timothy
Maternity pants size 10 or medium
Gloves for each of them
Tennis shoes, size 8 for Asia
Size 3 diapers & wipes
12-18-month pants for Abi
18-24-month shirts for Abi
Size 5 shoes and size 18-month socks for Abi
Little children?s puzzles