Fire Destroys Home of Amish Family

Posted at: 06/21/2013 6:41 PM
Updated at: 06/21/2013 6:51 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) --A massive fire in Northwood Iowa Thursday, destroyed the home of an Amish family who didn't have a telephone. It was a passerby who saw the flames and called for help.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, but the house is destroyed. Forty minutes went by before the fire department was even called. The house was fully engulfed by the time crews arrived.

Rubble is all that's left of the home now and fire crews are calling it a total loss. Investigators say the time it took the owners of the home to call for help made it virtually impossible to save it.

"He was about a mile North un-hooking some of his implement in the field and he was obviously with his horse and he come riding back and saw his house was on fire," said Mitch Hanson, Assistance Chief of Northwood Fire Department.

With no phone to call fire crews, the owners of the home, scrambled to save what they could.

"They tried to get some of the stuff out of the house prior to calling or getting help. They just figured get some of the valuable things out of the home and that's when they realized it was fully engulfed," said Hanson.

By that time, someone from town saw the smoke and called fire crews to the scene. It took them around 3 hours to contain. They say the family was heating up a tub of water with a wood burning fire in the basement, which caused the fire.

Fire officials say this isn't the first time a structure in this Amish community has been turned to ash.

"They're always in danger out there, I mean it's a bigger risk but that's the way their community is," said Hanson.

Northwood Fire Officials say the family that lived in the house has another place to stay on their land while they rebuild. The Amish community really comes together and supports one another, so they expect to start building within a week.