Authorities believe a malfunctioning furnace is to blame for a weekend fire that destroyed a home in northeast Iowa.

Gary Bierman is the fire chief in Dumont, where the fire was reported at 6:40 Sunday evening. He says the first firefighters on the scene reported hearing the furnace “screaming” in the basement.

A man and three children lived in the home but were not there at the time. No one was injured, but it’s believed two pets were killed in the fire.

“A preliminary report of one cat and one dog, but nothing confirmed,” Bierman told Radio Iowa. The Red Cross is helping the displaced family. Bierman says the temperature at the time of the fire was around zero, which hampered efforts to knock down the fire.

“It makes everything slower, harder, slicker…guys slow down and equipment freezes up and doesn’t work,” Bierman said. “It at least quadruples problems.” The two-story home was full of smoke when firefighters arrived.

Bierman said it was too dangerous to send personnel inside to battle the blaze. Around 40 to 50 fire and emergency personnel from Dumont, Bristow, Allison, Aredale, Aplington and Greene responded to the scene.