Passerby warns of house on fire

This photo was taken from behind the house of Eric and Clarissa Dutton looking east. Fire departments from Hillsboro, Peabody and Goessel responded to the emergency.Fire destroyed a rural Marion County home about 10 miles south of Hillsboro Tuesday, Jan. 10. No one was hurt in the blaze.

The 4-year-old home is owned by Eric and Clarissa Dutton, but at the time of the fire, Clarissa’s mother, Roxanne Dallke, was watching her granddaughter, Alexa.

“I had just put (Alexa) down for a nap about 1:30 p.m. when a passerby stopped and said the roof was on fire,” Dallke said.

In the next few minutes, other motorists traveling on Indigo Road saw what was happening and also stopped to help, she said.

While Dallke said she gathered up Alexa and left the house, the first person to stop made sure the two family dogs were safely out of harm’s way.

The first on scene was Hillsboro Assistant Police Chief Jessey Hiebert, who gave a report of the situation to Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee.

“While I was putting on bunker gear,” Steketee said, “(Hiebert) told me the grandmother and granddaughter were out and safe.”

Peabody firefighters arrived shortly after and Steketee said he instructed them to spray water in the southwest window where the most fire was.

“It is a technique we refer to as ‘hit it hard from the yard,’ before sending firefighters in,” he said. “It will cool down the structure before entering.”

About three hours later, Hillsboro and Goessel left, but not before Steketee said the fire was almost out and he briefed Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner of the situation.

One family member said that after all the firefighters were gone, she noticed about midnight that flames were again shooting up in the southwest corner of the house.

Peabody firefighters returned to the scene and extinguished the last of the fire.

In addition to the house, a lot of grasses nearby also burned.

Steketee said the winds from Although none of the family members or pets were injured, one Goessel firefighter suffered burns on his back while pulling down ceiling material.the north pushed the fire south, not too far from another house.

“One of the (Hillsboro) brush trucks, with two firefighters still on their way to the scene, were told to hit the head of the grass fire and put it out,” Steketee said.

Although none of the family members or pets were injured, one Goessel firefighter was burnt.

Steketee said the firefighter was pulling some of the ceiling down and a big chunk of ceiling with hot material burned his back, but it was not life-threatening.

The automatic aid system also worked “fantastic,” Steketee said.

“This was a Peabody fire and Hillsboro and Goessel fire departments were both called at the same time as Peabody.

“That’s why the house is still standing,” he said.

Another reason the automatic aid system is a good thing, Steketee said, is because when Peabody responded, they had one pumper truck and two firefighters.

“It would have been a hard time managing the fire by themselves,” he said.

Even though Hillsboro would have been called, Steketee said, it still would have taken firefighters another 10 minutes arriving.

Peabody ambulance was also at the scene, along with about 20 firefighters, he added.

One other interesting side note about the person who alerted Dallke of the fire, Steketee said, was that he was a Wichita firefighter.

The cause of the fire and amount of damage was unavailable at press time.

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