A phone call from a neighbor helped alert a Mitchell family that their house was on fire early Sunday morning.
Chet Edinger, of 1524 Lakeview Lane in Mitchell, received a call from his neighbors, Tom and Mary Day, after midnight, informing them of the fire.
“They called and got us out of bed and saved everyone from any harm,” Chet Edinger said at the scene.
The Mitchell Fire Division responded to a call at 12:50 a.m. Sunday to battle the blaze that officials said affected several structures. Responding officers found a storage shed and the grass area surrounding the storage shed south of the residence on fire, authorities said.
Mitchell Public Safety issued an alert at 1:40 a.m. Sunday asking residents to stay away from the area.
Lakeview Lane is just east of Main Street and southeast of Lake Mitchell Campground.
Five area fire departments assisted the Mitchell Fire Division, including Mount Vernon, Ethan, Letcher, Rosedale Colony and Alexandria.
According to Mitchell Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg, the fire started in a garden shed on the south end of Edinger’s property, and then spread north to the garage and roof of the Edinger household, causing significant damage to the home before the fire was contained. Information from the Mitchell Department of Public Safety on Sunday said the fire spread quickly from the house to the garage, aided by winds gusting to more than 20 mph. The shed was completely destroyed, and the wind also blew burning embers north, starting a small fire on the covered deck area of the house at 1528 Lakeview Lane.
Mitchell Police and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Investigators are continuing to look into the cause of the fire, but have deemed it non-suspicious.
Edinger, his wife, step-son and in-laws were in the house, but were safely evacuated. Officials said one woman was treated for minor smoke inhalation. Edinger said the bedrooms are all on the north end of the house, which is opposite of where the fire started.
“The good news is that everyone is safe. We all got out and got our pets out and are thankful for that,” Edinger said. “We have family in town we’ll be staying with, so we’ll be fine.”