Oskaloosa Family Escapes House Fire

Three fire departments responded to this house fire Saturday night on the south side of Oskaloosa

Oskaloosa, Iowa – An Oskaloosa family lost their home to fire Saturday night, but three kids and their babysitter made it out safely.

According to Oskaloosa Fire Captain Dave Christenson the babysitter did notice the fire and got the children out safely, then contacted 911. Christenson also reported that no injuries were reported from the fire.

The house is located south of Oskaloosa at 2694 Highway 63. The property is owned by Marion VanGorp and was occupied by Jennifer Hanigan and family.

The call came in at 9:44 pm and firefighters remained on scene until 1:22 am, with a total of 25 firefighters responding to the call.

Eddyville Fire and Cedar Township Fire Departments aided with the fire.

At the scene, Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff, “We’ve got a big problem. What’s happened is the fire’s got up in the attic, which is typically bad enough in and of itself.” He explained that the problem arose because of how the flat roof of the house had been capped and had asphalt shingles, then a metal roof was added on top of that. “We’ve got fire in-between all those areas. We’re having a really difficult time getting this thing put out.”

While firefighters were battling the blaze, a call came in that the Quad County Grain was also on fire. When firefighters responded to the call, they discovered that smoke from the house fire had caused the confusion. Cedar Township was actually dispatched to assist with Quad County Grain, because the fire departments from Oskaloosa and Eddyville were tied up at the house fire.

Departments that also assisted were Mahaska Health Partnership Emergency Services and the Mahaska County Sheriffs Department, along with the Oskaloosa Police Department.

The house and contents are a total loss with an estimated damage of $80,000. The fire remains under investigation, but at this point investigators don’t suspect foul play.

Firefighters were called back to the house twice, once at 3:15 am and again at 5:01 to snuff out flames that had rekindled.

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