4 displaced by kitchen fire at Jasper duplex

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Members of the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department work to put out a fire on the corner of Rumbach Avenue and Meridian Road in Jasper on Tuesday. The Jasper Police Department and Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services also responded to the fire. 

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

JASPER — Two adults and two small boys ages 1 and 2 are expected to temporarily stay with relatives after a Tuesday kitchen fire in their south-side duplex.

The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department was called to the report of a stove fire at the 408 Rumbach Ave. duplex owned by Parr 4 Rentals at 11:28 a.m. The site is on the east side of Third Avenue just east of Arlington Court.

Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang said the occupants of the east side of the duplex are Sheldon Kempf, who was at work, and his fiancee, who was home with the two small boys.

Hochgesang said a pan left cooking on the stove apparently started the fire that gutted the kitchen and caused heavy heat and smoke damage throughout the rest of the residence.

“She was getting (the boys) dressed and the smoke detector activated so she grabbed the boys and sat outside in her car,” Hochgesang said.

Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services came to the scene and provided blankets from the ambulance to warm the children.

A local American Red Cross representative was contacted to help with immediate clothing and lodging needs. Hochgesang said the victims would be staying with family in the coming days because the east end of the duplex is unlivable.

The occupants did have renter’s insurance, according to Hochgesang.

The landlord for the duplex arrived during the response, allowing the fire department to ensure the living quarters on the west side of the duplex were unharmed.

Members of the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department work to put out a fire on the corner of Rumbach Avenue and Meridian Road in Jasper on Tuesday.

“That side is fine,” Hochgesang said.

Four trucks and 26 firefighters were on the scene 50 minutes.

The duplex kitchen fire was the fire department’s third response this week.

At 8:40 a.m. Monday firefighters were called to DaVita Jasper Dialysis, 671 Third Ave.

There was no fire, Hochgesang said. Instead, he added, an employee had overheated oatmeal in a microwave oven, burning it and triggering an alarm.

Three trucks and 18 firefighters were on the scene 15 minutes.

Then, at 12:11 a.m. Tuesday, the department was paged to Lot 62 at Maple Grove Village, 3828 N. Portersville Road.

A fire outside the Lot 62 trailer was out upon arrival, according to the fire department.

Six trucks and 16 firefighters were on the scene for 30 minutes.

Tyler Lechner, left, sprays off Leighton Hochgesang after members of the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department put out a fire on the corner of Rumbach Avenue and Meridian Road in Jasper on Tuesday.
Members of the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department work to put out a fire at 408 Rumbach Ave in Jasper on Tuesday.



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