Inhabitants escape fire; cause believed to be accidentalThe fire is believed to have been caused by a child playing with a lighter inside a closet.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
A column of smoke rose above a Mitchell neighborhood Monday afternoon as firefighters spent several hours battling a house fire at 219 E. Seventh Ave.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the Mitchell Fire Division responded to reports of smoke coming from the home, Mitchell Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg said in an interview with The Daily Republic at the scene.
One adult and two children were inside the home when the fire started, but all three escaped without injury. Their names were not released.
The fire is believed to have been caused by a child playing with a lighter inside a closet, Overweg said.
The area around the home was closed to traffic for several blocks, though traffic continued to flow on nearby Lawler Street.
Firefighters appeared to have the blaze mostly under control by 4 p.m., but smoke was still flowing out of the home as it continued to be doused with water.
The home appeared to have extensive interior and exterior damage as a result of the fire.
“I’m sorry for the family,” said Nancy Hunter, of Mitchell, as she watched the commotion from a nearby sidewalk. “It’s hard for any family.”
The people inside the home have been put in touch with the American Red Cross for assistance, Overweg said.
A nearby neighbor, Bill Henson, returned home shortly after the roads were blocked off by emergency responders. “You could just see a little bit of smoke coming out,” he said. “Then the fire department showed up.” Henson was concerned to see a house fire so close to his own home. “You don’t want to see destruction in any neighborhood,” he said. Henson said the burned home is a rental property, but he wasn’t sure who was living there. A Mitchell Realty for-sale sign was standing in the front yard of the home and Mitchell Realty’s website says the home was being rented until Jan. 31.