'A big devastation': Stove fire destroys Ottumwa home

The burned house, and everything in it is considered a total loss/KTVO

Authorities say a wood burning stove was the cause of a fire that destroyed an Ottumwa house on North McLean Street late Saturday night.

As the victims come to grips with what has happened to their home, they hold tight to a few priceless belongings that were salvaged from the blaze.

"Just little things can cause such a big devastation," said Alexis Young, who lost most of her belongings in the fire Saturday.

Young said she had just fallen asleep when she heard the commotion.

"And then I kind of like turned over, and my headphones fell out and I heard screaming and then I couldn't breathe," she said.

Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller tells KTVO the fire started in the back of the home, and quickly spread to the attic.

"When we were on scene, we had fire coming out the roof,” Miller said. “That's always a bad sign when you have it coming out of the roof."

Young is friends with the homeowners, Tim Lapoint and Shana Crossman. Until Saturday, Young had been living with the Ottumwa couple.

Just about everything inside the home is considered a total loss. But firefighters managed to save a handful of items that can't be replaced.

"We got a few sentimental things,” Young said. “A firefighter was lucky enough to retrieve Shana's dad's ashes, and I got a painting of my grandmother, she made it."

The house alone holds a special place in its owners’ hearts. Young tells KTVO the couple set aside a lot of time and money for home renovations.

"It's been tough because when they had this house, it was literally concrete blocks and 2x4s,” Young said. “They built this house inside and out."

Miller said there is significant water and smoke damage throughout the home, making it unfit to live in. The house is currently marked placarded by the Ottumwa Health Department.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the homeowners purchase items that can be replaced: furniture, appliances and other necessities.

"They didn't want people to actually send them things, they wanted people to give to people more in need,” Young said. “But I see it as they're in need too. They just lost their home, and it's almost Christmas."

Young is currently staying with a friend. She said Lapoint and Crossman are staying at a hotel as they continue their search for a new home.

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