AP NEWS

Power County home already a loss when firefighters arrived

May 7, 2019

AMERICAN FALLS — Fire had already destroyed a rural farm home by the time volunteer firefighters arrived to fight a blaze in Power County at 4040 Roth Road on Sunday morning, according to the Power County Sheriff’s Office.

Reports show the fire at the home, located between American Falls and Aberdeen, broke out shortly before 9:30 a.m. The cause has not been determined.

The Power County Fire Department arrived 27 minutes after dispatchers received the report. The county’s ambulance service also responded.

Power County sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Krell emphasized the fire department is staffed by volunteers and covers a broad, rural area. Furthermore, he said the fire already had an undetermined amount of time to take hold before it was ultimately reported.

“When they arrived, the house was a total loss, so they did not have to put it out,” Krell said.

The home, which was owned by a local farmer and was being rented by a family of five, had a ground floor and a basement. Krell said the family members were all home when the fire broke out, and the father cut his arm while punching out a bedroom window on the ground level to make an exit.

Regionally, the ability to protect homes in rural, unincorporated counties has been a hot topic lately. In the North Bannock County Fire District, for example, officials are contemplating an election to raise its tax levy. The City of Chubbuck has indicated it will end a contract to protect homes in the district effective Oct. 1. Chubbuck will also be ending a contract to protect a small part of rural Power County.

The North Bannock County Fire District may have no choice but to try to find volunteers to staff its own fire department. Some residents have also advocated for splitting the district up, so at least the rural areas in north Bannock County closest to Chubbuck could be affordably protected.