No one was injured on Wednesday in a fire which destroyed a Liberty Township
home in the 200 block of Northwind Drive.
According to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, at around 10:43 a.m. a
neighbor across the street observed smoke pouring from the home, tried to
check for people still inside but found the front door locked, and then
noticed flames through the open front windows.
The homeowners subsequently arrived at the scene and confirmed that no one
was inside, police said.
The blaze possibly started after a desk-lamp fell onto the floor in a
bedroom near a mattress, around 5:45 a.m., one of the homeowners advised
police. “The lamp fell on some newspapers, which didn’t catch on fire, but
were smoking and smoldering. She sprayed water on the papers, moved the lamp
into the garage, and threw the papers outside. She just wasn’t able to
remove the papers that were melted onto the mattress but didn’t observe any
more smoke or burning. (She) then left her residence at approximately 8
Police said that the home was fully engulfed on the first responder’s
arrival at the scene.
Brian Duncan, chief of the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department, told
the Chesterton Tribune today that his investigators have not been
able to confirm—or otherwise to rule out—the desk-lamp as the possible cause
of the fire. He did say that the bedroom in which the desk lamp fell to the
ground was fully involved on firefighters’ arrival.
Duncan noted that a lack of a nearby fire hydrant hampered efforts to douse
the blaze. A tanker relay was established—with tankers from LTVFD,
Chesterton, Burns Harbor, South Haven, and Washington Township
departments—to tap a hydrant located on U.S. Highway 6, something like half
a mile from the scene.
As near as Duncan was able to calculate, around 60,000 gallons of water were
used to douse the blaze.
“We couldn’t use an aerial because there was no hydrant to supply it with
water,” Duncan added. “So we mostly tried to keep it cool while it burned
“We had a crew inside the house for a short time but we had to get them out
because the roof was fully involved,” Duncan noted. “Then we went to a
defensive attack. IT was too dangerous for a crew to be working inside.
High winds were blowing embers about as well, Duncan also said, and
firefighters had to keep an eye on possible extension to a nearby home.
Duncan estimated damage to the house alone at between $250,000 and $300,000.
He was unable to estimate damage to contents. The home was a total loss.
Also on the scene were the Porter and Portage fire departments.