On Thursday evening, January 4th, Jeff-Craig Fire & Rescue and Switzerland County Emergency Response were dispatched to the area of Detour Road and Highway 56 West of Vevay for a fully engulfed structure fire at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Switzerland County Dispatch reported that it received multiple calls regarding this incident. Upon arrival firefighters determined that is was an occupied house and that all occupants were accounted for and uninjured. Additional fire departments from Moorefield, Brooksburg, and Ryker’s Ridge were dispatched for water tankers and additional resources due to a near zero-degree air temperature.
“The frigid temperatures make firefighting extremely challenging,” said Fire Chief Chris See said last Friday. “Since water is our primary resource the ground, trucks, pumps, tools, and firefighters usually become ice covered in a short time. Last night our crews did an amazing job of meeting the challenges of freezing temperatures”
See said that the fire was extinguished using 10,000 gallons of water; and that the house was a total loss. Investigators were unable to determine the cause of the fire.
See said that the occupants did advise investigators that they had frozen water pipes and were using multiple space heaters to thaw lines. They also stated that they had left for about an hour to go eat in town and came back to their house on fire. Several pets were inside at the time of the fire and unable to be rescued.
The Jefferson County Red Cross arrived on scene to assist the family in their time of need. Switzerland County Highway and Southeastern REMC were also on scene to assist with the event. A family friend has started a Facebook post to assist the family. It has been shared on the Jeff-Craig Fire Department Facebook page.
“During these long periods of cold weather houses are at an increased risk of catching fire, primary and alternate heating sources usually being the culprit. We encourage everyone to take a minute and check their homes and outbuildings for potential fire hazards,” See said.
The firefighters were on scene for about two hours before returning to station and volunteers took turns through the night and early morning monitoring the site for hot spots.