The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

January 23, 2013

Fire engulfs Fletcher Street house

Witnesses: Smoke from blaze seen two miles away

ANDERSON, Ind. — Embers shot into the frigid night air and billowing smoke could be seen as far as two miles away as firefighters battled a house fire Wednesday night.

The abandoned house at 2126 Fletcher St. was fully engulfed when tankers arrived at about 6:15 p.m, said Anderson Battalion Chief Larry Towne.

“We received a call from dispatch, and immediately when we came outside, we could see the smoke,” Towne said.

Witnesses said they watched flames aggressively take control of the white, two-story house when firefighters opened the front door. David Gooding and Debbie Tomlinson, who live across the street in the Central School Apartments, said they watched the fire develop from their window.

“They broke down the window to the porch and it really started burning. It was just the side windows at first, then all at once it started burning quite a bit,” Gooding said.

Firefighters struggling to reach the flames inside the burning structure stripped away at siding with long hooks to open up the house. Once they exposed the roof, firefighters used hoses to quickly quell the fire. Towne said the blaze was under control at about 6:45 p.m.

Johnny and Ashley Jones said they could see the smoke rising from Mounds Mall, nearly two miles away.

“We just came from [the mall],” Johnny Jones said. “You could see the smoke easily, and once you got a little closer you could see the flames.”

Towne said the cause of the fire was still unknown and more information will be available after investigators can study the remains.

Next-door resident Chasty Smith said she appreciated the quick response by the fire department. She said the house sat abandoned for nearly two years and it’s been mostly stripped of wiring.

“It’s sad because that was a beautiful house,” Smith said. “They could’ve fixed it up for the homeless or something.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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