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Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Overnight fire destroys area home

Firefighters from 12 departments battle blaze

By Shelley Grieshop
Twelve area fire departments battled extreme weather conditions to fight a blaze that destroyed a house overnight Monday.
No one was injured as dozens of firefighters from Ohio and Indiana attempted to extinguish the fire at 1065 Strable Road, about one mile east of Chattanooga. 
"It was a total loss. ... The wind, the cold weather, there wasn't much we could do," said Chattanooga Fire Chief Doug Brehm, adding a damage estimate and cause was not immediately available.
The home reportedly is owned by Dennis Bollenbacher. He and his wife reportedly escaped the fire unharmed.
Firefighters were called to the scene shortly before midnight Monday and returned to the station at 6:30 a.m. today.
The fire reportedly broke out in the chimney, but Brehm said it was discovered in the floor and walls by the time crews arrived. Firefighters watched as water from their hoses turned to a snow-like mixture as it fell onto the home, he said.
"It would freeze in mid-air," he said.
The temperature fell to minus 15 overnight, according to local weather forecaster Dennis Howick. The windchill was more than 30 below.
Brehm said the crews did their best, but the weather prevented a good outcome. The two-story, vinyl-sided home was destroyed, he said.
The extra manpower at the scene allowed firefighters to rotate positions, preventing each from too much exposure to the frigid temperatures, Brehm said.
Fire departments assisting the Chattanooga crew were from Rockford, Coldwater, Fort Recovery, St. Henry, Ohio City, Willshire, Celina and Mendon in Ohio, and Monroe, Berne and Geneva from Indiana.
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