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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — A house fire reported by a passerby on county Highway S northwest of Colfax last Thursday evening resulted in a total loss of the home.
The fire was called in at 5:30 p.m. October 19 by someone who was driving by, said Gary Hill, Colfax fire chief.
The cellular service is so spotty in that area that the passerby had to go to a neighbor’s place to call 911, he noted.
The house was owned by Shawna Stone, Hill said.
The location of the house was several miles east of the Otter Creek Town Hall.
The Colfax Messenger was able to hear the call to Colfax on the scanner from dispatch. The passerby had said that he or she could see quite a lot of smoke and some flames.
Later on, after the dispatcher had paged out Colfax, the dispatcher reported that a Dunn County deputy who arrived at the scene said the house was fully engulfed.
No one was home at the time of the fire, although Stone’s dog perished inside the house, Hill said.
The fire, which is still under investigation, appears to have started in the kitchen and then went up through the ceiling into the rafters and the insulation, he said.
The Colfax fire department received mutual aid from Boyceville, with a tender and six firefighters, and from Sand Creek, with a tender and two firefighters, Hill said.
Later on, the Menomonie fire department was called to refill Colfax’s air bottles and responded with a vehicle and two people, he said.
By the time Menomonie arrived to fill the air bottles, the fire was under control, but filling the air bottles was necessary in case the fire flared up again, or another fire happened in another location before Colfax could get the air bottles filled again, Hill said.
The house was “gutted” by the fire and the inside totally destroyed, although the walls are still standing, he said.
Colfax responded with 15 firefighters, and 17,000 gallons of water were used to fight the fire, Hill said.
Although she lost her dog, no one else was at home, and Stone was at work when the fire was called in, Hill said, noting that Stone works night shifts and said she had left her dog inside because it was supposed to get a little cold outside that night.
The Colfax firefighters returned to the fire station about 10 p.m., and it was 11:30 p.m. by the time the equipment was taken care of and everything was put away, he said.
The cause of the fire could have been an appliance in the kitchen or something in the electrical wiring, Hill said, noting that an insurance company investigator would likely be able determine the exact cause of the fire.