Blaze leaves family homeless

A Saturday afternoon blaze at 624 S 19th St. has left a family of four without a home after fire, smoke and water damaged it.

Debbie Garrett, who said she’s owned the home for 17 years, said she put a load of clothes in the dryer then reported hearing the machine make a grinding noise about five minutes later.

“I went to check on it and there were flames coming out of it,” she said.

She tried putting it out with a fire extinguisher but nothing happened when she pulled the trigger.

“It wouldn’t work,” she said.

She lives in the home with her three children, Abi Garrett, 18, Jessica Garrett, 14, and Connor Garrett, 8.

She said they made it out safely.

“Everybody but the cats,” she said. The family had two cats.

Fort Dodge Fire Department Chief Kent Hulett said when firefighters arrived they found flames shooting from the rear and side windows in the back section of the house.

He said there was heavy smoke and that the fire extended into the second story of the home inside the walls.

Crews quickly brought the fire under control but Hulett said he was expecting them to be on the scene for several hours making sure there were no smoldering hotspots.

He estimated damage to be about $20,000 to the building and about $10,000 to the contents. The Red Cross was called to assist the family. Fort Dodge Police and MidAmerican Energy also assisted.

There were no injuries in the fire which was reported at 3:10 p.m. Hulett said the cause was the malfunctioning electrical dryer, He also said there were functioning smoke alarms in the house.