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Fire Destroys Former Fire Chief's Home


May 25, 2011

The home of a former Moseleyville fire chief was destroyed Monday morning, in a three-alarm blaze that required manpower from the Daviess County Fire Department and five volunteer fire departments.

The fire, at the Ashbyburg Road home of former Moseleyville Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Chandler was reported at 2:06 a.m. Scott Smith, current chief of the Moseleyville Fire Department, said Chandler was the department’s first fire chief from 1972 to 1985.

“John said his son woke (the family) up,” Smith said. “He felt the heat and started screaming.”

Firefighters from Moseleyville department, the Airport-Sorgho Volunteer Fire Department and both county fire stations initially responded to the call. But Smith said he called for additional help because firefighters were being worn out by a combination of the fire, high humidity in the air and the conditions of the house.

“It was a mess (to fight) and I knew it would be as soon as I heard the punch-out,” Smith said. “John had built on and built on — and when you do that, it becomes a nightmare for firefighters” because of the different materials used for each addition, Smith said.

“(Chandler) said he bought it in 1962 and it was just a little four-room house,” Smith said. “After about two hours, I figured we needed additional manpower.”

Volunteer firefighters from the St. Joseph, Utica and Masonville fire departments were then called to assist fighting the fire. Lt. Steve Szefi of the Daviess County Fire Department said firefighters were on the scene for hours before the fire was extinguished.

“We left at 9:05 a.m.,” Szefi said. “It was a really hard fire for us to put out, because it was hard to get to and get around.”

No one in the home was injured and fire and no firefighters were hurt, Smith said. The home was a total loss, Szefi said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We really don’t know how it started,” Szefi said. “It could have been lightning, or it could have been something else.”

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