Shelby County Sheriff Neil Gross says they responded around 10:35 after getting information from someone that the person inside was communicating with. He says they got a call from a person who said they got texts that there were materials inside the home to start a fire and someone wanted to harm themselves.
Law enforcement initially evacuated two or three houses in the area before expanding the perimeter to include the nearby Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton High School, where some employees were working, along with construction workers who were on the roof conducting repairs and upgrades. The sense of urgency came when Firefighters saw possible propane tanks inside the residence.
Sheriff Gross says they were negotiating with the individual and after several hours — he said he was going to come outside to talk in person. “At that point, the structure then did light on fire. We saw fire on the west side of the building,” he says. Gross said after a fire began, a person inside attempted to get out.
“I think we got there just in time to help him get out of the residence. The door was I believe screwed or sealed shut from the inside — so it was hard to get in — but also hard for him to get out once the fire started,” Gross says. Once he was pulled out by officers, the individual was checked out by medical staff and transported to Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan.
The person’s name was not released. He was reported to be in stable condition. The person will get a physical and mental evaluation, according to the Sheriff. Gross said he was glad the situation ended peacefully and safely with no injuries.
(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)