Blaze damages home in Surprise



Smoke billowed from the northeast corner of a home in Surprise on Thursday afternoon as firefighters knocked down a fire.

The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. at the 1,344-square foot modular home of Deborah K. Jackson at 6446 N. Douglas Ave. in the northern Jackson County community in Hamilton Township.

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Primary and secondary searches by first responders did not find anyone inside the home.

“I banged on the house and everything like that, but if there was anybody in there, they were really, really overcome with smoke by the time I got here,” said Ben Rudolph, a detective with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and chief of the Pershing Township Volunteer Fire Department.

He said he was the first person to arrive on the scene. Heavy brown smoke was coming from the eaves on the north side of the home and had vented through the northeast window, he said.

Firefighters said they believe that room to either be a kitchen or a utility room. The cause of the fire was unknown, said Scott Thompson, assistant chief of the Hamilton Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Along with Pershing, responding volunteer fire departments were Hamilton, Brownstown and Owen-Salt Creek in Jackson County and Southwest in Bartholomew County. Other sheriff’s deputies and Jackson County Emergency Medical Services also responded.

“It was a partially involved structure all the way through the roof,” Thompson said of when he arrived on the scene.

At that point, firefighters didn’t know if anyone was inside the home, so they knocked down the fire and searched the home but didn’t find anyone, Thompson said.

Rudolph looked at the identification number on a vehicle sitting outside the home to determine who lived in the home so he could contact them. He said a neighbor told him who lived there.

Thompson said the fire was mostly contained to the northeast corner of the home and in the attic. The living room on the other side of the wall in that area of the home received some smoke damage, he said.

Firefighters had to pull most of the ceiling down to get to the insulation, and they also had to remove the siding of the home, Thompson said.

“It’s vaulted ceilings, so there’s not a whole lot of room up there,” he said of the attic.

The Southwest Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene to help with pulling the ceiling out.

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