Cedar Falls home fire still under investigation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls home fire still under investigation

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

UPDATE: Fire crews are still working to pinpoint what started a fire that destroyed a Cedar Falls home.

A home along Beaver Ridge Trail, within the Beaver Hills Country Club community caught fire around 9 p.m. Monday night. Five additional fire crews including Janesville, Dike, New Hartford, Shell Rock, and Stout all assisted Cedar Falls.

Crews remained on scene until 4 a.m. checking for any hot spots. Despite a large response, the home is a total loss. 

Public Safety Director Chief Olson says this now marks the second time a home in the Beaver Hills Country Club area caught on fire. Fire crews faced a number of obstacles, including a lack of nearby fire hydrants. In the neighborhood, there were not any fire hydrants. For that reason, crews had to travel close to three miles just to haul in water. 

"Five, six, seven tankers that was just continually bringing water back and forth," said Chief Olson. "We ended up using 35 tanker loads of water, and each one holds anywhere from 1500 to 2000 gallons."

When crews arrived, the home was engulfed in flames. The family and two dogs who live inside, were able to make it out of the home safely.  

"You have water in your fire trucks and you bring a tanker with, but you have to get water moving right away, because you can pump all that water, in a matter of minutes," said Chief Olson. 

Aside from hauling in water, Black Hawk County had to come in to plow the streets and clear the roads so trucks could get in and out. 

"We didn't have any problem with anything freezing," said Chief Olson. "We kept that water moving fast enough. It was zero degrees or a few degrees below zero."

The effort tied up fire crews for more than seven hours, into the early morning. The home was leveled Tuesday morning. 

Chief Olson says the fire is still under investigation, but he believes the fire was started in the chimney or attic. He says every year, there are a number of fires caused simply by people heating their homes. 

"You think about a lot of things when it's cold out," said Chief Olson. "You know about keeping your chimneys clean so you don't have a fire starting in your chimney. Think about some of the mobile homes, water pipes underneath, and they'll freeze up and sometimes people will go underneath with torches or they'll have heat tape that'll malfunction. There's all sorts of things you think about-you think about space heaters too. If you have a space heater plugged in that you're running a lot, you might want to give it a break once in a while, because electrical wire can get hot from space heaters. 

Chief Olson says tanker trucks are kept inside the garage ready to go with water. However, in a case like this, crews can go through water rather quickly.

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Emergency crews are at the scene of a house fire within the Beaver Hills Country Club community in Cedar Falls.

Fire crews from at least four agencies are battling at the scene, and say the house is engulfed in flames. Smoke can also be seen rising from the house from across the neighborhood. Emergency crews have confirmed the fire started in the attic, and the family was home at the time and was able to call the fire in.  Crews say they are trucking in water to the scene, due to the fact that there are no hydrants in the immediate area of the fire. County road crews were also called in to clear nearby roads, to make access easier for fire crews. 

Neighbors tell KWWL that the family who lives in the house are all out safely. The family's pets are also safely out of the house.

They do know the house is a total loss, and are working to contain the flames. Crews are expected to be there for several more hours.

KWWL's Jessica Hartman is at the scene working to learn more information. 

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