The Porter Fire
Department is still investigating the cause of a fire which destroyed the
home at 800 Park Ave. on Wednesday afternoon.
Although the PFD
was initially advised that the home’s occupants were trapped inside the
residence, that report proved not to be true and all three succeeded in
evacuating, uninjured, to safety. The family’s dog, however, did perish.
Porter Fire Chief
Jay Craig told the Chesterton Tribune today that multiple 911 calls
were made around 3:15 p.m., one of them by Chesterton Street Commissioner
John Schnadenberg, who observed heavy smoke in the area. A woman passing by
at the time also stopped when she saw the smoke to alert the occupants and
get them out of the house.
The fire is
believed to have started in the attached garage of the one-story home, Craig
said, and on their arrival firefighters found it to be fully involved, with
Wednesday’s strong gusty winds fanning the blaze. “The wind played a big
role in spreading the fire from the garage to the home.”
Assisting at the
scene, under mutual aid agreements, were the Chesterton, Burns Harbor,
Liberty Township, Beverly Shores, Portage, South Haven, and Washington
Township FDs, with the initial attack made overhead by the BHFD’s ladder
truck. Firefighters subsequently made entry and pursued the attack from
inside the house, Craig said.
Water was supplied
by a nearby hydrant and Craig was unable to say how many gallons were used.
Craig added that,
despite the high winds, there was little danger of the fire spreading to
adjacent homes. “We had a pretty good buffer,” he said. “But I think the
house next door sustained some heat damage.”
The cause of the
fire remains under investigation but it was accidental in nature, Craig
said. He estimated total damage to structure and contents at $100,000. “The
house is uninhabitable. It will probably need rebuilding.”
The PFD cleared the
scene at around 7:30 p.m.