Mitchell house fire contained to atticMitchell firefighters contained a house fire to an attic Thursday afternoon, largely protecting the main floor from damage.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
Mitchell firefighters contained a house fire to an attic Thursday afternoon, largely protecting the main floor from damage.
The fire broke out around 2 p.m. in a home at the corner of Williams and Minnesota streets, just west of Dakota Wesleyan University at 1301 S. Minnesota St. Dispatch received a call of smoke coming from the roof.
At the scene, thick white smoke billowed from the brick house in the frigid, subzero air. The temperature at the time of the initial response was 3 degrees below zero, with a wind chill factor of 28 below.
The fire was under control approximately a half-hour after firefighters reached the seen, and no one was injured. Mitchell Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris said the main floor of the home suffered very little, if any, damage.
The cause of the fire was not initially known. Investigators were expected to go through the house Thursday night.
The renter of the home was working in the garage when the fire broke out, and he was alerted by smoke detectors, Morris said. A passerby had already called 911, and fire trucks showed up just as the renter went outside to see what was happening.
Steve Van Genderen, the owner of the home, said most of the damage was from smoke.
“Basically it looks like it started up in the attic, maybe some electric wiring sparked and smoldered some insulation,” he said. “I know it caused a lot of smoke.”
Because of the extremely cold conditions, an emergency response unit was brought to the location and firefighters took shifts sitting in the vehicle to warm up.
“Typically the biggest challenge when it’s this cold is that everything just slows down, equipment and personnel both,” Morris said.
“With the amount of water we normally use on fire, everything and everyone is covered in ice. But with the nature of this fire, we didn’t need a lot of water, so we didn’t run into the frozen ice problems.”
Rosedale Colony firefighters also came to the scene to help relieve Mitchell firefighters from the cold.