New Year begins with a house fire for one local family

The Baker Fire Department was paged out to a house fire in the early morning hours of January 1.

By Angel Wyrwas

Fire destroys the dining room of the home at 13 Milwaukee Ave.

The Baker Fire Department was paged out to a house fire in the early morning hours of January 1. The residents of 13 Milwaukee Ave. noticed their power was out in a couple rooms of their home. Upon opening the attic to check the breaker box, smoke began billowing out of the opening and fire spewed from the dining room light.

The fire department received the call at 4:08 am and the first responder arrived on scene seven minutes later. Eleven firefighters responded with one pumper truck and one ladder truck. They remained on scene for approximately two hours.

“It was an electrical fire caused by a short in the wiring,” said Fire Chief Tom Bruha.  “It could have been so much worse but it was caught in time. The fire was contained to one room with significant damage. The home was not a total loss but there is some smoke and burn damage. The occupants evacuated with no injuries.”


Firefighters used a dry chemical extinguisher to knock the flame down. There was still dry smoldering in the insulation so some water was also used. “The crew did a great job,” said Fire Chief Bruha. “The temperature was -30 degrees but we were able to keep our equipment functioning.”

Most of the residents’ belongings were saved. They will be staying with family until the walls in half of the house are removed and replaced and the wiring is checked over.

“It was fortunate the residents realized that something was wrong when they did,” said Fire Chief Bruha. “It’s the best fire scenario, when no one is injured.”

The fire department had been called out the night before, New Year’s Eve, with a report of a smoke smell at the Fallon County Detention Center. Six firefighters responded at approximately 5:30 p.m. with a ladder truck. They checked the heating system on the roof and the interior ductwork with thermal cameras making sure nothing was hot. It was determined there was no threat of fire and the smell may have been caused by burnt dust when the furnace temperature was increased to combat the extremely low outside temperatures.

The fire department would like to remind area residents that fire can also occur in cold weather and offers some safety precautions.  “Extension cords should not be used on electric heaters,” said Fire Chief Bruha. “The heaters should be plugged directly into the wall. Make sure they are completely clear of everything.”

This vent at the Fallon County Times was covered with snow and filled with ice.

Residents should also check their roof vents during the winter to keep them clear of snow and ice. “Vents need to be clear to make sure sewer gas and carbon monoxide doesn’t build up in your house,” said Fire Chief Bruha. ”It is also a good time to check your smoke alarm and replace batteries if necessary.”

Fire Chief Bruha encourages the public to call the fire department if they have questions concerning these safety measures.


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