Authorities probe cause of Wednesday blaze


Traci Westcott/The Herald
Members of Celestine, St. Anthony, and Schnellville volunteer fire departments put out a house fire in Jasper on Wednesday. 
By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is expected to assist in the investigation today into the cause of a Wednesday afternoon fire that destroyed a residence and vehicle east of Jasper.

Three fire departments responded to the active fire early Wednesday afternoon after the Celestine Volunteer Fire Department was called to 814 S. 330E at 12:13 p.m.

Fire Chief Ryan Wineinger said the 45-by-60 structure was a barn converted into a residence. It was owned by Tom Leinenbach, and was the home of Matt and Brandi Leinenbach and a teenage daughter.

The house was fully involved when firefighters arrived, Wineinger said. Brandi Leinenbach was the only occupant at home. She awoke to fire, escaped out a second story window and declined medical treatment.

Celestine firefighters requested mutual assistance from the Schnellville and St. Anthony fire departments.

The structure and a vehicle parked in front of it were destroyed.

Wineinger said it appeared the fire started on the main level. A representative with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is expected to assist in the investigation into the fire’s cause today. Wineinger said that is standard protocol.

The structure was insured, but not the occupants’ contents, according to Celestine’s chief. The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the family, according to Wineinger.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office also assisted by providing traffic control as water was shuttled to the scene.

Celestine’s fire department responded with five trucks and 22 firefighters. They were on the scene three and a half hours. The Schnellville and St. Anthony departments each sent a tanker and seven firefighters to assist.

Brandi Leinenbach is comforted across the street from her house as firefighters continue working to extinguish flames after a fire broke out in her home in Jasper on Wednesday. Leinenbach jumped out of a window to escape the fire.



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