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Ramsey Street home burned Sunday evening

Fire destroyed this home at the intersection of 10th and Ramsey streets in Hastings on Sunday night. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)

A home at 1003 Ramsey St. burned Sunday evening. The fire caused the death of one pet.

A neighbor, Keith Garrick, was one of the first people to notice the fire. As he passed by, he said he noticed a bright orange light coming from the home’s front door. When he got closer, he could see the flames through the windows.

Another person stopped as well and both he and Garrick called 911. Then they started checking the doors and windows and pounding on the doors in case anyone was still inside.

“The car was still in the driveway, and usually when that happens, somebody is home,” Garrick said.

According to Hastings Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt, firefighters arrived just three minutes after the initial call. When they arrived, they found visible flames on both the main and second levels of the house. The Miesville Fire Department, Hastings police and reserves and Hastings Public Works assisted the Hastings Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, they entered the home to conduct a search and rescue operation, Schutt said.

“When we have the indication that somebody may be in the house … we risk a lot to save a lot,” he said. “… We want to do what we can to try and save them.”

As they searched the inside of the home, they found that a cat had already died of smoke inhalation. The complete search showed that no people were inside, and crews later learned that the homeowner had been out of the house at the time.

The fire started in a main floor bedroom and had a slow start, Schutt said.

“It burned for about an hour … before it was caught,” he said.

The cause of the fire was attributed to unintentionally discarded smoking material, which ignited some bedding material and spread to the mattress. Those materials smolder first, rather than bursting into big flames Schutt explained. And, he added, while they smolder, they put out a lot of toxic smoke and heat the rest of the room. Once the fire gets enough air and begins to spread, it spreads very fast, Schutt said.

“What’s sad is, when fires go undetected, they can really get a lot of progress ahead of us before we get the call,” Schutt said.

Even so, firefighters managed to stop the fire relatively quickly.

“We had it knocked down within about 15 minutes,” Schutt said.

That initial control was followed by about an hour and a half of work to make sure the fire was completely extinguished. Crews had to pull apart walls and pull out debris to make sure there are no hot spots left.

“In that type of construction, the fire gets into the walls and up into the attic,” Schutt said.

Crews also had to cut a hole in the roof to let the fire vent. The worst of the damage was to the south side of the home.

The home was built around 1950 and did not have a sprinkler system. Schutt said that a sprinkler system most likely would have contained the fire to the first room.

“A sprinkler system would have changed the entire scenario,” he said.

Although the house is still standing, it’s being considered a total loss. The Red Cross is providing assistance to the homeowner.

Garrick is also trying to do his part to help. He’s started a GoFundMe page for the homeowner at www.gofundme.com/wsmg96ek.

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