One hurt, Red Cross offers aid
By Bruce Karnick
Approximately 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, the Hastings Fire Department received a call for a structure fire in Villa Court. Five people normally reside in the home, but only one was home at the time of the fire. That resident was transported to Regions Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and is expected to make a full recovery.
Assistant Chief Chris Paulson gave the rundown of the events after the fire was under control.
“We had a report of a structure fire,” Paulson said. “When we arrived, the backside of the house was on fire. We responded with a twoperson engine and one person in an ALS ambulance. We were a little shortstaffed to begin with. We were helped with an engine from Prescott, a ladder from Cottage Grove and a lot of our offduty personnel, but we were able to knock the fire down, pull the ceilings down in the kitchen area for the attic fire and get the fire contained. We believe the fire started on the outside of the house. The cause is under investigation.”
When the Journal arrived on scene, the fire was extinguished and there was little to no smoke emanating from the home. The homeowners and family were in the back yard making the needed calls, minus Tim Sindt, who was at Regions Hospital being treated for smoke inhalation. Insurance Agent Tony Ciro was even on site to help guide the homeowners through the process of contacting the insurance company for a place to stay and needed supplies. A call had already been made to the American Red Cross, and they were on site to help too.
Red Cross Agent Jeff Thelen explained their part in helping a family get through a home loss.
“What we're trying to do is fill in for the first 24 to 48 hours, you know, make sure that they are safe, they have some shelter, and possibly offer some financial assistance if that's what is needed; just cover them for the first two days or so just to kind of get them to reset,” Thelen said.
Between the insurance agent on site and the Red Cross being involved, the homeowners were in good hands for the night provided they could get in and get some of their necessities from the house. Assistant Chief Paulson explained what the fire department does to help facilitate the retrieval of needed items.
“For the essential things like medications and things like that if we cannot grab them, we will try to get them into the house to find their things as long as it is safe for them to do so. That is what we are working on right now, making sure that the air is safe enough for them to come back in. Otherwise getting back into their house is really tough these days because contractors are few and far between and people wait a considerable amount of time for the repairs to be started,” he said.
There were no First Responders hurt in the response to the fire.