In only a matter of hours Dec. 18, the Clarinda Volunteer Fire Department responded to two significant structure fires.
At noon Thursday, firefighters were summoned to a fire at large dog kennel at 2478 190th Street owned by Norma Hughes. Then at 6 p.m. the fire department received a report of a house fire at 319 W. Main St. in Clarinda. The house is owned by Greg Young.
"When you get two bigger ones like that back to back, the guys get pretty tired. Plus winter fires always take a toll on the equipment," Clarinda Fire Chief Roger Williams said.
Williams said the dog kennel, which was a wood frame structure with metal siding and a metal roof, was fully engulfed when the department arrived at the scene. Along with flames coming from the structure, firefighters were confronted with heavy smoke and intense heat.
Between 16 and 20 dogs were being housed in the kennel at the time of the blaze. Williams said eight to 10 of those dogs perished in the fire.
"We tried to get as many dogs out as we could get to while also trying to put the fire out. The building collapsed from the fire, so it took awhile to get to the hot spots," Williams said.
Although the cause of the fire was undetermined, Williams said the blaze appeared to start in the furnace area of the kennel. He said the owners also reported having trouble with the furnace prior to the fire.
"A local contractor was there the day before and that morning trying to get it working. I spoke with the contractor and he said it was working fine when he left. It was certainly accidental," Williams said.
Firefighters remained on the scene for three hours. Assistance was also provided by Clarinda Emergency Medical Services and the Page County Sheriff's Department.
The Clarinda Fire Department was then dispatched at 6 p.m. for the house fire at 319 W. Main St. in Clarinda. Two adult children were home at the time of the fire. They were able to safely exit the house and notify the fire department.
"When we arrived there was a pretty good fire in the basement that we could see through a window on the west side of the home and there was a lot of heavy smoke. It was a good sized window, so we could get water in right away," Williams said.
After making the initial attack through the window, Williams said it was clear several firefighters would need to enter the home with the use of air packs to bring the fire under control. Therefore, he requested additional manpower from the New Market Volunteer Fire Department.
Firefighters first entered the basement of the residence on the north side of the house, and then additional personnel entered the main floor through the front door on the south side of the house. Williams said firefighters found the fire had spread through the walls to both the main floor and second floor of the home.
"We had to be aggressive to get in there and get the fire under control. The guys did a great job. I was pretty impressed with the guys from New Market when they got there," Williams said. "The house will not be habitable for awhile, but I believe it is fixable."
Williams said the fire was under control in 30 minutes, but emergency personnel remained on scene for three hours battling hot spots and ensuring the fire was fully extinguished. Also providing assistance at the scene was PeopleService, Clarinda Emergency Medical Services and the Clarinda Police Department.
The fire is believed to have been electrical in nature. "It was pretty obvious something shorted out. All of the breakers were blown, so there had to be a surge somewhere," Williams said.