DURANGO, Iowa –– A family of seven, including five children, were displaced by a fire this evening.
Firefighters responded to the structure fire at 14628 Burtons Furnace Road around 6:30 p.m.
Homeowner Karen Flogel Kennedy said she wasn’t sure how the fire began, but was able to get all the children - ages 2 to 7 years - out safely.
About an hour later, the home was still engulfed in smoke, and flames began shooting out of a portion of the house Kennedy identified as the bathroom.
Holding back tears, Kennedy said the family has repaired the house twice in recent years due to flooding. But it appeared to her that this fire would destroy the home, a white-sided two-story house with a swing set in the front yard.
As the responding firefighters worked to contain the blaze, the children gathered inside an ambulance to stay warm.
Annalise Flogel, 7, said the family members smelled something burning before running out of the house.
“We ran outside and the house just burst into flames. Mom screamed, ‘It’s going to blow up!” she said.
Annalise also held back tears as she recounted her playhouse, presents from her recent birthday, and other belongings that were in the home.
She noted the significant efforts the family made to repair the home after recent floods.
“We had a lot of work done on the house,” Annalise said.
Firefighters from several area departments responded to the fire. An official report on the cause of the fire or total damages was not immediately available.
The American Red Cross dispatched responders to help the family meet immediate needs for the next few days, according to Kasey Kelly, a Red Cross spokeswoman.
But Kennedy said since they didn’t have time to grab anything before escaping the fire, the children will especially be needing shoes, socks and winter clothing.
The family has been living in the home for about four years, according to Kennedy. The children go to Kennedy Elementary School and Hills & Dales.
Inside the ambulance, fire department workers handed out blankets to the children, diapers for the youngest children, and socks to Annalise, who had run out of the house without her shoes on.
“Mom, my shoes were downstairs,” said Annalise to Kennedy.
“They’re gone honey, and you know what? They’re replaceable. You’re not replaceable,” Kennedy said.
“I got you out here, that’s enough for me.”