Investigators are trying to find the cause of a house fire in rural Hamilton County early Monday morning that claimed the life of the resident of the home. Jewell Fire Chief, Duane Hendrickson, says things had gotten out of hand by the time they arrived at the home three miles southwest of Jewell.
“We arrived and the residence was consumed to the foundation — it wasn’t fully engulfed — it was completely gone by the time we arrived,” Hendrickson says. He says it was tough to get to the home as four cars were burning.
“And they basically were exploding as we arrived and they were consumed,” according Hendrickson. “The house 1,000-gallon LP tank was heated to the point the excess flow valve was exhausting LP gas, causing a flame jet.” He says they had to fight the fire behind cars as there were other things also exploding.
He says there were several 20-pound LP tanks for grills or campers that were exploding along with butane cylinders used in camp stoves that were also exploding. Fire departments from Ellsworth, Stanhope and Story City helped battle the flames. Hendrickson said they discovered the body of the resident inside the charred remains of the home after getting control of the fire.
The name of the victim has not been released. The body has been taken to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s office for further investigation.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)