FREEMAN -- An early-morning fire destroyed a house Friday in Freeman .

The Freeman Volunteer Fire Department received a call to the house, located at the corner of Walnut Street and Second Street in Freeman, at about 4:55 a.m. Friday and arrived at the scene to find the structure completely engulfed in flames, said Chad Soulek, assistant chief of the department.

Nobody was home at the time of the fire, Soulek said, so firefighters focused on knocking down the flames and protecting adjacent structures from damage. He said the direction of the wind and snow covering the neighboring homes worked in favor of preventing the fire from spreading.

“Without anybody being there it made it so much easier. We weren’t going to save the structure. We just stayed there and put it out,” Soulek said.

Soulek estimated the crews used 27,000 gallons of water to keep the fire under control. The structure was a complete loss, with only a set of garage doors and the house chimney remaining after the flames were out. The Freeman crew saw 17 firefighters respond to the call, Soulek said. Firefighters were on the scene until about 12 p.m. Friday, he said.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, Soulek said, mostly due to the fact that the destruction of the house is so complete it is difficult to find clear evidence. He said he expected the state fire marshal would be examining the site in the upcoming days.

Fire departments from Menno and Marion assisted the Freeman crew on the call, and nobody was injured fighting the fire, Soulek said.