By GARY POPP
Sellersburg and Monroe Township firefighters responded to two house fires within five hours of one another Sunday night and early Monday morning.
Neither of the blazes resulted in injuries.
Sellersburg Volunteer Fire Department Chief Boyce Adams said firefighters were called to a fire at 2023 Jefferson Blvd. in Sellersburg about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Five people were in the residence when the fire began outside the modular home, and, eventually, breached a bedroom window and a sliding door. Adams said it was the goodwill of a neighbor who smelled smoke in the area and alerted the people inside the home of the fire that may have prevented a tragedy.
“It could have been a bigger mess than it was,” Adams said. “The neighbor made a big difference in the outcome of the fire.”
Adams said the fire’s cause is under investigation. He said the American Red Cross is assisting the home’s occupants and is providing temporary housing as the fire “significantly damaged” the house.
Adams said it is unclear if the home will be determined a total loss.
Soon after firefighters had returned to their homes, Adams said they were called to another fire at 14908 Ind. 60 about 4:30 a.m. Monday. Adams said a man lived at the home alone and that he was able to evacuate after the fire began. He was asleep and was awoken by an unknown source, as there was no smoke detector in the residence.
The man also kept oxygen tanks in the home, one of which ignited during the fire and resulted in a dramatic increase of the fire’s temperature, Adams said. He said the front porch had already collapsed when firefighters made their arrival. Adams said the structure was an older mobile home, and it is determined a total loss.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation and has not been determined.
Adams stressed the importance of having functioning smoke detectors in a home.
“Fires can happen anytime, anywhere, and early detection is key to preventing a possible tragedy,” Adams said. “All smoke detectors in your home should also be checked on a monthly basis.”