Late night fire destroys family’s home on Beemont Road

Linda Trest
Staff Writer

Steve and Marsha Kamper’s son awoke late Thursday evening to the smell of smoke in their home in the 8100 block of Beemont Road. He alerted his father, who quickly got everyone out of the house and called 911. Marsha was at work at the time. 

Fire Chief Warren Weiss says the home is in an area that has had him worried for several months. The shortest route to the home would be north on State Route Y and then west on State Route ZZ. 

Several months ago, State Route ZZ was closed east of
Beemont Road for a bridge replacement. This meant emergency services would have to travel northwest to Drake to access the other end of State Route ZZ. 

Luckily, the bridge had been reopened only days before. 

The fire was called in at 11:31 p.m. The first vehicle arrived on the scene at 11:44 p.m., just 13 minutes after being dispatched. Once on the scene, a second alarm was immediately struck. By that time, the home was fully engulfed in flames. More equipment and personnel would be needed to fight the fire. 

Deputy Chief Justin Haase commanded the scene. By 12:40 p.m. the fire was under control. Crews remained on site until 2:37 a.m.

Weiss, who was not able to attend the call, says Haase and the rest of the department did a great job knocking the fire down.

They were joined in their efforts by personnel and equipment from Beaufort-Leslie, Owensville and New Haven-Berger fire departments. Sullivan provided an engine and crew to stand by at the Gerald firehouse. 

A fill site was set up at Lost Valley Lake only two to three miles away. This saved sending the tankers back into town for more water.

The house is considered a total loss, but Weiss says  most of the damage was to the middle section. 

“Both ends of the house are still standing and the roof is still on,” Weiss noted. “The place would be a pile of rubble if the bridge had not been open.”

The home was equipped with hard-wired smoke detectors but they did not go off. The fire appears to have started in the area of the kitchen stove, according to Weiss.

It is important for everyone to have a plan of action in place before a fire strikes your home. Have an escape plan in place; go over it regularly. Get out immediately and stay out. Designate a safe meeting spot to quickly make sure everyone has gotten out of the house.

Weiss notes that most deaths in a fire occur when someone re-enters a burning building. 

In this case, no one went back into the building. There were no injuries to either the family or the department members.