Two people died during an early morning house fire in western Iowa’s Cass County. Firefighters in Griswold were called to a home at Third and Main Streets at 1:10 a.m. When they arrived, they discovered flames were shooting out of most of the windows on the home’s West side. Five members of a family were living in the rental house. All but two, a six-year old boy and a 13-year old girl, were able to escape. The families’ distraught father says they went to bed late and were awakened by the smoke alarm. He says “I could see flames coming underneath my bedroom door so I ran out into the dining room and could see flames going along the wall and I ran out into the living room where my daughter was and I started to put it out with a pillow but there was too much fire.” Three of the family members were able to escape, but two others remained trapped in the home, including a six-year old boy who recently celebrated his birthday. The father says he tried to rescue the boy. He says “I already tried to get him out when I broke out the bedroom window. I kept screaming but I couldn’t see anything…all the smoke. I kept yelling ‘where you at’ and he kept saying he was on his bed. He was like three or four feet from me and I couldn’t reach him. I kept trying to get him to come closer but he wouldn’t come off the bed.” The family’s other daughter, a 17-year old, was not injured. The father suffered burns and bruises to his face, while the mother suffered from severe smoke inhalation. The couple was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic for treatment. The names of the family are being withheld pending notification of relatives. The distraught father says they moved into the rental home in tiny Griswold less than five-months ago, after having lived in Omaha, Nebraska. He says “It’s a small town. It thought this’d be a better environment for the kids…safer.” In addition to the loss of their children, the family lost all of their possessions, and one of two family pets was missing. Representatives from the State Fire Marshal’s office in Council Bluffs and the Cass County Medical Examiner were on the scene early this morning. There’s no official word on how the fire may have started.
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