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Solon house destroyed by fire

High winds hampered firefighters

SOLON– A Solon family lost its home to a fire fueled by high winds Wednesday, Nov. 18.
The Solon Tri-Township Fire Department and assisting mutual aid agencies responded to a call reporting a fire with flames showing at 330 Marshek Ct. shortly after 1 p.m., according to Asst. Chief Scott Wolfe.
Based on the call information, Wolfe activated a second tier call for mutual aid immediately.
Firefighters arrived at the Randy and Sandy Cline residence to find heavy fire and smoke showing from the back of the garage, he said.
Crews made an aggressive attack to knock the fire down, entering the front door and attempting to keep the flames in the ceiling from moving down the roof.
But a hole burned through the roof of the garage and allowed the fire to advance, fanned by strong winds, Wolfe reported.
“With the 35-mile-an-hour wind that we had, just fueled the fire and turned it into a very aggressive fire, and it raced across that attic, we couldn’t get it cut off,” he said.
As the blaze surged, Wolfe was forced to pull crews working inside from the structure, and firefighters continued to try to subdue the fire from the exterior.
Eventually, the flames were dampened for firefighters to re-enter the home and extinguish remaining hot spots.
Three dogs inside the home were rescued unharmed, but one firefighter suffered a minor injury, Wolfe said.
The homeowner was alerted to the fire by a neighbor, who ran up to the house and pounded on the door, he said.
Four children hosted by a daycare in the residence had just gone down for naps, but were removed safely, he added.
Although firefighters salvaged some belongings before they sustained damage, Wolfe reported the house as a total loss.
The Cline family declined emergency services, but a Facebook fundraiser established by Paige Gabriel raised over $9,000 within three days. To donate, visit: https://www.facebook.com/donate/185017993207456/.
The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation. Firefighters from the West Branch, Iowa City, North Liberty, Mount Vernon and Ely fire departments and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.
Wolfe expressed his sympathy for the family.
“We don’t like losing,” he noted.