Hot plate, insulated pants cause Austin house fire; Residence a total loss

Published 9:56 am Monday, December 10, 2018

No injuries were reported in a Sunday morning fire that destroyed an Austin residence.

According to Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger, Austin police and firefighters responded at 6:44 a.m. on Sunday to a fire at 511 Eighth St. NE.. When they arrived, the house was engulfed in flames.

According to Austin Fire Chief Jim McCoy, a 67-year-old man at the residence said he had placed insulated pants on top of a hot plate in an old freezer so they could dry. He was wakened by a loud bang and popping noises and saw smoke in the upstairs area. When he came downstairs, he saw smoke and flames coming from the freezer. After unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the fire, he went to a neighbor’s residence and the neighbor called 911.

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The man was the only person inside the house, Krueger said. The man declined medical assistance and was taken to the Mower County Law Enforcement Center to make living arrangements with the American Red Cross.

McCoy and Krueger said the house and its contents were a total loss. McCoy said there were no smoke detectors in the house.