BATESVILLE – During this week’s city council meeting, Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt and Batesville Fire Chief Todd Schutte gave an update on a fire that occurred at 1:15 a.m. Aug. 31 in Batesville.
The fire at 106 N. Park Avenue resulted in a fatality and a total of nine residents of the home were displaced.
This is the first fire related death the Batesville community has experienced, according to Schutte.
Holt said the police dispatcher immediately recognized this fire wasn’t a typical house fire once receiving the 911 call. The dispatcher immediately informed the two police officers who were on duty, Danny Hamilton and Travis Cook, and triggered fire alarms at the fire department.
Officers Hamilton and Cook were on the scene within one minute.
The officers described seeing a ball of fire, approximately 6 feet in diameter, on the first floor of the home. They saw the fire was growing quickly.
The officers made contact with the person who placed the 911 call and found out no one was on the first floor of the home, but the second floor was occupied by a family.
Officer Cook ran to the side of the house and beat on the door to get the attention of the family on the second floor. A resident came down the stairs and opened the door and said five others (including four children) were still in the home.
Officer Cook told the resident everyone needed to exit the home and followed the individual up the stairs to get all residents out of the building. Officer Cook was the last one to exit the home.
Officer Cook then heard an explosion, which was determined to be an oxygen tank. Multiple explosions were reported.
Electrical wires had fallen due to heat from the fire. The wires formed an arch near the home.
Holt said a child had moved back close to the house and was standing underneath the arcing wires. Officer Hamilton ran and retrieved the child and brought him back to his parents before the power lines fell.
Holt said public safety employees responded above and beyond to the fire. He said he has heard multiple comments from his officers commending the work of the Batesville Fire Department and the police dispatcher.
Schutte said Batesville fire crews arrived on scene at 1:18 a.m.
When crews arrived they also reported seeing a fire in one room of the lower level of the home. Firefighters heard multiple explosions as they exited their vehicle and within seconds the entire structure was engulfed in flames.
Schutte arrived on scene at 1:21 a.m. and saw power lines laying across the street and arcing near the home.
Schutte said firefighters started attacking the fire defensively when the department’s large fire engine arrived at 1:23 a.m.
The Morris Fire Department and Oldenburg Fire Department arrived on scene a couple minutes later.
In a group effort, the departments battled the fire, conducted a search of the home and located one woman who was deceased.
Schutte said after looking at history records, he believes this is the first fire death the Batesville community has experienced.
After a short period of time, the fire department discovered the fire was fed by oxygen.
The Batesville Fire Department was on scene for five hours.
The fire department immediately contacted the State Fire Marshal’s Office, who sent an investigator to the home.
The fire department is still investigating the fire and is waiting on the investigator’s report.
Chief Schutte commended firefighters for combating the blaze and protecting nearby structures.