Firefighters put down basketball, put out fire

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Two women were forced to obtain alternate housing after a kitchen fire Wednesday evening temporarily rendered their home unlivable.

The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department was called to the 622 Maplecrest Blvd. residence of Tina and Pat Dalton at 6:41 p.m., according to Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang.

The chief did not know how the women were related but he did find out they had been frying French fries when hot grease caught fire.

The women safely exited the residence and the two things that happened next helped keep the blaze in check until fire trucks arrived.

First, a nearby police officer came to the scene and emptied a fire extinguisher on the flames. Hochgesang said the officer reported the fire was on the stove and the floor when he first spotted the blaze. It then spread to the range hood and cabinets.

The second thing in authorities’ favor was that the house was behind Vincennes University Jasper Campus, which is where Hochgesang and two other firefighters were playing basketball in the college’s gymnasium. They hurried to the scene and emptied three more fire extinguishers on the kitchen.

“We kept trying to hold it down with fire extinguishers until the fire trucks got there,” Hochgesang said.

Thanks to those combined efforts, Hochgesang indicated, there was a quick knockdown when fire trucks arrived.

There was fire damage in the kitchen and smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the home. Water traveled downstairs to a basement area with a drop ceiling, Hochgesang said.

Damage was estimated at $50,000.

Hochgesang said the home was insured and the occupants were instructed to call their insurance agent. The fire chief was not sure whether the women were staying with friends or at a local hotel.

Five trucks and 24 firefighters were on the scene for 30 minutes.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.