Fire heavily damages Birdseye home, camper

Herald Staff Writer

BIRDSEYE — A Friday morning fire heavily damaged a Birdseye home and a camper near it.
Heavy smoke was already showing at 8:56 a.m. when the Birdseye Volunteer Fire Department was called to the Rodney and Lori Choate residence at 7138 S. State Road  145.

Fire Chief David Smith said Rodney, who was home Friday morning, sounded the alarm when he saw curtains inside the modular home on fire. The Choates have a middle school-age son and a young daughter, according to Smith.

Birdseye’s department summoned the Schnellville Volunteer Fire Department for assistance in fighting the blaze.

There were no injuries.

The cause of Friday’s fire is as yet undetermined but is thought to have been accidental in nature, according to Smith. It appeared to have started toward the south end of the home. It gained ground because of the prevailing wind, the chief said.

Fire also damaged the family’s travel camper.

“It looked like a pretty new one,” Smith said.

The fire chief and an insurance company fire investigator are scheduled to comb through the scene Monday.

Birdseye’s department responded with three trucks and 18 firefighters, while Schnellville’s department sent two trucks and 12 firefighters. They were initially on the scene in excess of two hours. Birdseye firefighters returned to the property at 1:49 p.m. to extinguish a fire burning in the top of a tree in the yard.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department, Dubois Rural Electric Cooperative and Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services assisted.

Contact Bill Powell at

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