Firefighter injured, dog dies in Bertrand Township blaze

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Authorities declared a ranch style home a total loss after flames destroyed the home at 2090 Bakertown Road in Bertrand Township on Monday afternoon.
The fire started in the front room of the house at approximately 2:30 p.m. The owner of the home returned after the fire was in progress.
Niles Township Fire Department Lt. Craig Lear said firefighters fought the blaze for about 15 minutes before they were able to get it out.
“Once it got in the attic it was challenging,” Lear said.
When the flames reached the attic, firefighters had to break down the ceiling to get to the fire, costing crews precious time and forcing them to use more force to fight the fire.
“It had already rolled across the attic before we could get to it,” Lear said.
Authorities from Galien, Niles Township, Buchanan, Buchanan Township, Bertrand Township and Clay Township in Indiana battled the blaze.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Authorities are continuing to investigate the source.
A firefighter was injured in the aftermath of the flames. The firefighter had been helping to search for hot spots inside the house and fell down a set of basement stairs, which were hidden by the smoke. The firefighter’s shoulder was dislocated. He was taken by SMCAS to the Lakeland Hospital in Niles.
A family pet perished in the blaze. Authorities found the deceased dog still inside the house.
Power to the neighborhood was shut down temporarily, while firefighters fought the fire. A representative from AEP was in the process of restoring power around 3 p.m.
Crews continued to work on scene to use a thermo-imaging camera to find remaining hot spots. The camera is able to pick up the hot spots that are hidden by smoke.
Lear cautioned all residents to be cognizant about changing their smoke detector batteries.