Fire destroys Atkins house, leaving three without a home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fire destroys Atkins house, leaving three without a home

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A fire at a rural Atkins home caused extensive damage and left three people without a home. 

Atkins Fire Chief, Dan Rammelsberg, said crews were sent to the home at 1:05 p.m.  When they arrived, crews found heavy smoke and fire coming from the home. Rammelsberg said the fire is believed to have a started in a second floor bedroom.

Lynae Heins grew up in the home, and it's where she now lives with her father, Garrett, and her teenage son.

"He's a 86 year old veteran, and he's live here at least sixty years," Heins said of her father.

Heins said her son is out of town for a fishing trip and the fire started in his room. She said he'll have nothing to come home to.

No one was home at the time of the fire.  Rammelsberg said a neighbor had called it in.  Heins said she feared her dad was still in the home.

"He was nowhere around and so I was going around screaming and knocking on windows.  The fire people wouldn't let me get too close, but I was trying," she said.

She said it wasn't for 10 to 15 minutes until she knew he was safe when he pulled up to the driveway. He was away having lunch when the fire broke out, so no one was injured in the fire.  Their pets were also not injured.

Once fire crews left, Heins and her family and friends were left with a gaping hole in their home. Her closet where her clothes still hung were visible from the outside and the coils of her son's burnt mattress were hanging down into her room.

"Just devastation. All the pictures. All the things you couldn't replace. They were destroyed. It's hard to replace pictures, the baby pictures. You can replace a birth certificate. You can't replace the baby pictures. That was the hardest thing to accept,"  Heins said.

Rammelsberg said the cause of the fire is still being investigated. Many departments assisted, including Shellsburg, Palo, Fairfax, Newhall, Norway, and Hiawatha fire departments, Area Ambulance, and the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

The Red Cross is assisting the family and putting them up in a hotel, though Heins worries what's next for her father who has nowhere to go.

Until then, she said all they can do is take it day by day.

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