Fire shuts down U.S. 421 for hours

September 19, 2018

CLINTON TWP. – No one was injured in a fire that started in a basement and spread to a home along U.S. 421 on Monday morning, but it proved to be a headache for motorists in southern La Porte County.

The fire apparently started about 9 a.m. in the basement of home on U.S. 421 near CR-800S, about five miles south of Westville in the Haskell Heights subdivision, according to the authorities.

The Cass-Clinton Volunteer Fire Department and Westville Community Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene, along with firefighters from Hanna, Lacrosse, and Noble and Washington townships. The blaze was extinguished before it could spread to nearby homes.

However, because of the home’s proximity to the highway, firefighting equipment was staged along U.S. 421, forcing a complete shutdown of the busy highway for nearly three hours, according to the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department said the road was closed between U.S. 6 and U.S. 30 from about 8:45 a.m. until about 12:15 p.m.

La Porte County EMS responded to the scene, but “just for standby to check on firefighters and to be there if anything happened,” administrator Andrew McGuire said.

No injuries were reported from the fire or the firefighting effort, he said.

Unconfirmed reports said the homeowner was awakened by his dog before getting out safely.

A spokesman said Westville firefighters went to the scene on a mutual aid call, but said Cass-Clinton was the lead agency. No one from the Wanatah-based department was available to comment.

Social media posts reported that smoke could be seen from the area on Monday morning. A neighbor wrote on Facebook that the damage was limited to the back and inside of the home, and firefighters sprayed nearby homes and garages to keep the blaze from spreading.

The cause of the fire was unknown as of late Tuesday afternoon.

—From staff reports

Update hourly