House, barn destroyed in fire

A rural North Vernon family escaped a fire that began in a barn and eventually destroyed their home Tuesday afternoon.

The fire at the home of Jeremy Luedeman at 8750 W. County Road 100N was reported at about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday by neighbor Edward Hall.

Hall, who lives about 200 yards west of the home, said he was returning from ice fishing at a farm pond across the road when he noticed the fire in a barn at his neighbor’s home.

“I had just come home and was getting ready to go in, and I could hear something crackling over here,” Hall said as he stood in his yard near the burning home.

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After seeing the fire, he said he was getting ready to climb a fence and knock on the windows because he knew Luedeman and several children lived there.

“I just wanted to make sure everyone was out,” he said.

Hall said by the time he arrived, however, Luedeman and some of the children — ages 6 to 16 — were coming out of the house. A child who had been in the barn also was safe.

“She was climbing out of the window,” he said.

The family planned to stay with family members in North Vernon, said Luedeman’s sister, Maggie Dewar.

“Yes, thank God,” Dewar said when asked if everyone was OK.

North Vernon Fire Chief Mike Cole, who served as incident commander for the fire, confirmed everyone was able to get out of the burning A-frame wood house without injury and no firefighters were injured while fighting the fire.

“When I got here, the back of the house was involved,” he said.

At that time, one firetruck from Spencer Township Volunteer Fire Department was there, and firefighters were stretching hose, he said.

Cole said the biggest issue in dealing with fighting the fire besides the cold was finding enough water.

“The biggest thing is we’re on a rural water supply, so we are having to run a tanker shuttle,” Cole said. “We had some lines freeze up down on the roadway, so we weren’t able to get water as quickly as we wanted.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation and no damage estimate was available Tuesday.

Firefighters from at least seven departments responded to the fire, which could be seen in Seymour, and they helped ease the water shortage by hauling water back and forth from nearby hydrants, including one a mile west of the fire at the Jackson County line with Jennings County.

Besides North Vernon and Spencer Township, other firefighters responding included those from Scipio-Geneva Township and Vernon Township in Jennings County; Elizabethtown, Southwestern Township and Wayne Township in Bartholomew County; and Redding and Hamilton townships in Jackson County.

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A local family lost their home to a fire Tuesday afternoon.

The family includes five children — boys and girls ages 6 to 16.

They are in need of shirts (boys and girls 5T, youth large, adult women’s medium to extra large), pants (boys and girls 5T, boys 12, girls 14 to 16, women’s 14), shoes (boys and girls 11 to 12, men’s 4½ to 5, women’s 6, women’s 9½), socks and jackets.

For information, call 812-767-6193 or email [email protected].

Donations can be dropped off at the North Vernon Sears Hometown Store at 247 E. Walnut St.