Monroe Fire Protection District PIO Jason Allen has provided the following information in a press release to the community to update on two fires in the past two days:
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
PIO: Jason Allen
Phone: 812-837-6360 Email: [email protected]
Two Structure Fires in Two Days
March 17, 2022 – The Monroe Fire Protection District has responded to two different structure fires within 14 hours of each other. Wednesday fire units were dispatched to a structure fire in the 8900 block of S Ketcham Rd around 8:20 pm. Thursday morning firefighters were dispatched to the 6100 block of E Kerr Creek Rd for a trailer fire.
Wednesday night on Ketcham Rd first arriving units reported a metal barn approximately forty feet by forty feet on fire with a brush fire, about an acre in size, burning as well. As firefighters began working on extinguishing the fire, they also had to protect a propane tank that was close to the building and next to a down power line. Fire crews pulled a bass boat out of the barn to keep it from being burnt.
The barn had been used for a welding shop and storage and was constructed of sheet metal. The sheet metal was on the outside of the barn and had two layers of sheet metal on the ceiling making it difficult for firefighters to get through it. The fire was burning insulation and the wood frame of the building that was between the layers of metal. Firefighters used axes, pry tools, gas-powered saws, and even drills to remove or cut holes in the sheet metal in order to get water on the fire. Units were on scene for several hours removing metal to ensure all the fire was located and extinguished.
Once the fire was out firefighters assisted the owner with salvaging several pieces of machinery used for their business and other items that were stored in the barn.
The cause of the fire was ruled accidental. The owners had been burning a brush pile and left it unattended for a short time. They received a notice on their phone about the power being out at the barn. When they went to check on the barn, they noticed it was on fire and called 911. The fire from the brush pile ignited the grass and leaves around it causing the fire to spread up a slope and into the barn.
Monroe Fire Protection District has responded to several brush fire calls this week and would like to remind everyone to never leave a fire unattended. If you are going to burn make sure it is a clean organic material, you have a water source or way to extinguish the fire, and check the weather for the day to see what wind conditions will be. We advise that if a fire ever gets out of control call the fire department immediately. In the majority of emergencies, people wait too long to call 911 because they try and fight the fire themselves and it quickly overwhelms their ability, and more area has burnt. If you want more information on campfire, and wildland fire safety you can visit http://smokeybear.com
This morning, fire units were dispatched to Kerr Creek Rd around 10:15 am with a caller reporting smoke and fire coming from a trailer. While firefighters were enroute they reported a visible smoke column in the sky from the area. Once they arrived on the scene, they found a working trailer fire with approximately half the trailer engulfed in flames, as well as a pickup truck. Firefighters attacked the fire and searched the trailer for any possible occupants. While working to extinguish the fire part of the roof of the trailer collapsed creating some difficulty getting to some areas of the fire. Firefighters were able to knock down the bulk of the fire very quickly and set up positive pressure fans to ventilate the smoke out of the trailer. Units then completed a second search of the trailer for any occupants with the results coming up negative.
The fire was called in by a neighbor who was heading into town when they noticed smoke coming from the trailer and called 911. The trailer was being rented and the occupant was at work at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
MFD was assisted on both fire scenes by Duke Energy and IU Health Lifeline Ambulance Service. No injuries were reported at either incident.