Fire Heavily Damages Home West of Altamont

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Published on March 6 2013 9:44 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Wayne Moran

Fire did significant damage to a home west of Altamont Wednesday afternoon. At about 1:15pm, the Altamont Fire Department was called out to a home owned by Dave Hatfill. When firefighters arrived, the back porch area of the home was engulfed in flames. 

Kathy Robertson, Hatfill's sister, was in the home with her mother when the fire broke out. She told us that one of their dogs went to the back porch area and began barking loudly. Robertson went to the porch to find it already on fire. She attempted to call 911, but said the fire had apparently already damaged the home's phone, so she and her mother left the house and drove a half mile to their neighbors' home to call authorities.

Robertson told us that the neighbor followed them back to the home, and helped her get the family's dogs out of the house. She later learned, however, that her cat had died in the fire.

Altamont Fire Chief Jon Becker said this was a difficult fire to control, due to the home's "balloon-style" frame, which he said is prevalent in many older homes. This type of frame doesn't provide much fire-stoppage, so a blaze can spread very quickly.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly, but had to cut the home open with a chainsaw in several spots to get to flames and embers in the walls.

Crews from Altamont, Shumway and St. Elmo responded to the fire.

Below is our conversation with Altamont Fire Chief Jon Becker at the scene...