Ottumwa crews battle fire and ice, pets killed in midnight blaze

Firefighters were still at the scene ten hours later, putting out more flames/KTVO

Ottumwa firefighters braved the harsh temperatures early Tuesday morning to battle a house fire.

Just before 1 a.m., crews were called to the 100 block of South Iowa Avenue, where the basement was engulfed in flames. The fire eventually spread to the second floor of the house and into the attic.

Fire Chief Tony Miller said two people who were home at the time, managed to escape unharmed; however, a dog and a cat were killed in the fire.

Firefighters were still there 10 hours later putting out more flames.

Miller said it was a difficult fire to put out because the roof had caved in shortly after crews arrived on the scene.

The sub-zero temperatures didn’t help either. The department brought a heated trailer to the scene so firefighters could take a break from the cold.

“When it’s that cold, you’ve got to do something, you can’t just stay out there," Miller said. "All your gear gets soaking wet, we had gloves and hats and all that, we bring extra stuff because when it gets that cold, it’s harder to get warmed up.”

He added that at least six gauges on the fire trucks, which measure water pressure, froze and will need to be replaced.

Miller said the cause is still under investigation. So far, investigators have ruled out arson.

The American Red Cross arrived on the scene Tuesday morning to assist the family.

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