A home near Chestnut Hills Golf Club in Aboite Township was reduced to rubble this week in an early-morning fire, possibly sparked by an electrical failure, a fire official said.
Gale Stelzer II, chief of the Aboite Fire Department, said his crew arrived at 2:28 a.m. Monday to find the home at 11216 Creekwood Drive fully engulfed, he said.
Stelzer, who lives around the corner, said he arrived at the scene in four minutes and observed that the fire “was pretty much throughout the whole house.”
A guest at the home woke up to the sound of smoke alarms and “saw that the whole back wall was on fire,” Stelzer said. A ceiling fan was on in the screened back porch, he added.
The fire was contained in 35 minutes.
The 82-year-old homeowner and a couple there to assist her after back surgery escaped the blaze. There has been no sign of the owner's cat, Stelzer said.
Mutual aid was provided by Southwest Fire District and the Arcola Fire Department, with the New Haven Fire Department providing a paramedic truck in case emergency medical treatment was needed, Stelzer said.
Although the Fort Wayne Fire Department has two fire stations nearby, they weren't called, Stelzer said.
“Our mutual response goes to the county,” said Stelzer, who wasn't sure how long the house took to burn down or whether there was a delay in calling 911.
A family spokeswoman, who was asked not to identify herself, said the home's smoke detector is linked to Allen County 911. The guests woke up after the alarm was set off and had to get the sleeping homeowner out of the house. They then sat at the curb.
The home's relatively new construction could have played a factor in the speed it burned because of materials used in modern construction, Stelzer said. According to city-data.com, the home is valued at $350,000 and was built in 1997.
“This is a very good reminder that smoke detectors do save lives, as you see with today's fire,” Stelzer wrote in a Facebook post where he also posted videos of the home burning and after the fire.
“You do not have much time to get out,” he wrote. “If you have not done so, check your smoke detector and change your batteries. A good rule is to change your batteries twice a year when you change your clocks. Your life just may depend on it.”