FIGHTING FIRE AND ICE

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Firefighters responded to the second house fire in Carbon within 24 hours. This home at 60 East 5th Street was destroyed by fire Tuesday morning.
Submitted photo

New Year’s Day started out quietly, however by 4 p.m., Monday, it had become an emergency responders’ nightmare.

Firefighters from three counties battled fire and ice Monday night at a home on Linden Street in Carbon. The cause of the fire has been listed by officials as electrical.
IVY JACOBS photo

It all started with the report of a structure fire at a residence located near 5038 West State Road 340 at 3:59 p.m. When members of Posey and Dick Johnson Township volunteer fire departments arrived, the house was fully engulfed and several other departments were requested to assist with manpower and water tankers, including Brazil City, Center Point, Jackson Township, Cory and Vigo county departments Nevins and Seelyville.

Carbon fire at Linden Street on January 1, 2018.
IVY JACOBS photo

The battle wasn’t only against fire. Arctic temperatures made it difficult to work water pumps and freezing hoses, to get the water to the fire from other sources and then travel on the roads with water tankers made treacherous by ice from the necessary water.

Shortly before 5 p.m. the Indiana Department of Homeland Security was contacted to have a State Fire Marshal respond to the scene to begin an investigation.

Carbon fire at Linden Street on January 1, 2018.
IVY JACOBS photo

The Clay County Sheriff’s Department provided several officers for traffic control.

Around 6:44 p.m. a second structure fire was reported in Carbon, with members of the Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department responding. Members of Dick Johnson left the previous fire to assist at the Carbon fire scene with members of Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Firefighters' helmets, along with their gloves, were frozen with ice at the fire on Linden Street in Carbon on January 1, 2018.
IVY JACOBS photo

With the temperatures dropping as the sun set, Bridgeton, Rockville, Billmore (from Parke County), Reelsville and Madison Township (out of Putnam County) also arrived to help with manpower and water.

Star Ambulance, along with many personal vehicles belonging to the firefighters and others trying to help, kept their heaters on, creating warm places for firefighters to get inside in attempts to defrost their equipment and thaw out frozen gloves throughout the night.

Pulling down cables connected to the house fire on Linden Street in Carbon on January 1, 2018.
IVY JACOBS photo

The house on Linden Street had been renovated, sided and roofed numerous times over the years, Van Buren Fire Chief Tod Haring said heavy equipment had to be called in to tear off the back part of the house so that firefighters could get to the fire inside the walls.

Carbon fire at Linden Street on January 1, 2018.
IVY JACOBS photo

“There’s over 100 years of firefighter experience here tonight, and none of us have seen anything like this,” Haring said about the struggle to contain the electrical fire and fight the extreme weather conditions. “It has been horrible. We already had one engine freeze up,and had to take it back to the fire house.”

Firefighter huddled around small heaters trying to stay warm during Carbon fire on Linden Street on January 1, 2018.
Ivy Jacobs photo

Firefighters were on the scene in Carbon for several hours, as well as at State Road 340. However, at 12:10 a.m. on Jan. 2, the fire at SR 340 rekindled and the exhausted and cold firefighters returned.

The remains of the house located at 60 East 5th Street in Carbon was still smoldering from an early morning fire Tuesday afternoon.
IVY JACOBS photo

It wasn’t over for the firefighters in Carbon either as another residence at was reported on fire shortly before 7 a.m. Van Buren along with many of the departments from the night before responded to the house fire at 60 East 5th Street.

The damaged house located on Linden Street in Carbon was still smoldering from the fire Monday evening.
IVY JACOBS photos

Throughout Tuesday firefighters continued to check on the three different fire scenes and the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s investigator searched through the rubble during their investigation which concluded shortly before 4 p.m.

Firefighters from nine departments battled the initial blaze at the home located at 5041 West State Road Monday and the rekindle at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday. Later Tuesday, officials investigated the ruins of the home, finding an unidentified victim of the fire.
IVY JACOBS photos

Clay County Coroner Nick French later confirmed a fatality was discovered at the fire scene on State Road 340.

The rubble left over after the fatal house fire Monday located on State Road 340.
Ivy Jacobs photo

No further information was made available due to pending notification of family members and the ongoing investigation.

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