Fire that began in dog house totals rural South Dakota home

Yankton firefighters try to control a house fire west of Yankton, S.D., on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. No one was injured in the incident, but the fire rekindled early Tuesday and caused extensive damage. (Kelly Hertz/Yankton Press & Dakotan via AP)

YANKTON (AP) – Authorities say a house fire believed to have started when a dog house heater failed during a snowstorm was thought to be under control Monday night, only to flare up early Tuesday and destroy a rural South Dakota home.

The Yankton Fire Department said the electrical fire that began in the dog house about 7 p.m. Monday engulfed a shed, spread to the side of the house and settled into the attic. The fire also burned through a propane line attached to a 125-gallon tank.

Firefighters were at the home for 2 1/2 hours Monday night and thought they had put out the blaze, which displaced four people and the dog, Deputy Chief and Fire Marshall Larry Nickles told the Yankton Press & Dakotan.

When Nickles left the scene, two rooms had sustained water damage and light smoke damage was reported elsewhere, but the house was in good enough condition that heat was still on, he said. Firefighters cut holes in the house’s metal roof, but may not have located all of the burning material, leading to Tuesday’s rekindling, the deputy chief said.

The house had only an insulated truss space between the cathedral ceilings and the roof, which Nickles said was a factor in the flare-up. Firefighters were called back to the scene around 5:15 a.m. Tuesday when flames were shooting from the roof. By that time, the storm had made the roof too slick to walk on.

“Our guesstimate now is that the house was totaled,” Nickles said. “The dog’s not happy he lost his house, but there were no injuries.”

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