State Fire Marshal Investigates Two Western Iowa Fires

News

June 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has investigated two mobile home fires in parts of western Iowa this week. Each fire resulted in serious injury or death to its occupants and each home had no working smoke detectors.

On Saturday June 4, 2011 at 9:34 PM, firefighters responded to a fire at 227 12th St. in Fontanelle. Upon arrival, firefighters found the two occupants lying on the ground outside of the home. Each had sustained burn injuries. Both 63 year old Susan Davis and 60 year old Howard Burgher were transported to the Adair County Hospital before being transported via life flight to the University of Iowa Burn Unit.

Howard Burgher died at the Burn Unit on Sunday morning; an autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death. Susan Davis remains in critical condition at the U of I Burn Unit.

Local fire officials requested the Office of the State Fire Marshal investigate the cause of the Fontanelle fire. Investigating agents determined the fire was accidental and started by the careless discarding of smoking materials. Additionally, the pace of the fire was accelerated by the excessive storage of combustible materials. These storage items also restricted access to exits. There were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Today (Tuesday) at 2:15 AM, firefighters were called to 3510 North 9th St., Lot #213 in Carter Lake, on report of a fire. Upon arrival, Carter Lake Police entered the home and rescued the single occupant, 74 year old Donna Thomas.

Thomas was transported to Creighton Hospital in Omaha, before being transported via life flight to the St. Elizabeth Burn Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. The woman sustained life-threatening injuries.

Local fire officials requested the Office of the State Fire Marshal investigate the cause of the Carter Lake fire. Agents determined that the fire is accidental with the fire originating from an electrical short in the wiring of a small appliance near Thomas’ bed.

Additionally, the pace of the fire was accelerated by the excessive storage of combustible materials. These storage items also restricted access to exits. There were no working smoke detectors in the Thomas home.