Firefighters use a ladder to reach an upper part of the house.
Chief Sean Driesbach
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Crews from several suburban fire departments were called out early Friday morning to battle a house fire in the southeastern part of the Metro that left a home heavily damaged For a time, it also had neighbors and firefighters wondering about the fate of its owner.
According to Chief Sean Driesbach of the Jeffersontown Fire Department, the alarm came in at 3:48 a.m. about the fire in the 4800 block of Routt Road.
Kathy DeGraaff, who lives near the house that burned, said she heard an explosion and saw an orange glow when she looked out a window. After getting to her front door, DeGraaff saw her neighbor's home on fire and called 911.
Driesbach said heavy fire was coming from every window on the second floor of the home when fire crews arrived. Unsure if someone was inside, firefighters went in the burning structure to search, but found the stairs to the second floor were already burned out.
Because of the intense fire, Driesbach said crews had to pull out for their own safety. A short time later, they learned from dispatchers that the homeowner was out of town and the house was not occupied.
Before firefighters got there, DeGraaff said she and her husband ran to the house to find their neighbor. DeGraaff told WAVE 3 her husband broke out a window and tried to get inside, but another explosion and the flames forced him back.
DeGraaff said she and her husband tried numerous times to call their neighbor on his cell phone. After repeated failed attempts to reach him, DeGraaff said they were sure he had died in the fire. Finally, they were able to make contact with him. It was a moment, said DeGraaff, when she was never so happy to hear someone's voice.
Driesbach said the fire appeared to be burning for some time before it was discovered. Damage to the second floor was described as extensive. The first floor suffered heavy damage from smoke and water.
It took 27 firefighters from three departments – Jeffersontown, Middletown and Eastwood – to bring the fire under control. Fire investigators were at the scene trying to determine the cause.
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