Blaze levels vacant house
A fire Saturday night destroyed a vacant house at 346 1100 Road. Although the house was a total loss, a nearby propane tank and horse barn were closely guarded by firefighters as the blaze was being extinguished.
Willow Springs fire chief Lyle Bowlin lives just down the road from the house, and he said it was fully engulfed as he headed for the fire station. A neighbor reported the fire.
"When I was going by, the house was fully engulfed," Bowlin said. "There was no saving it."
Bowlin said the suspected cause of fire was space heaters being used to keep pipes from freezing. He said the house was owned by Joy Underberg, who lives in another house on the property and operates the horse stable.
Since the house could not be saved, Bowlin said firefighters concentrated on keeping the blaze from a nearby propane tank and horse barn. About 25 volunteer firefighters responded to the scene, including a truck from Palmyra Township and a few Baldwin City firefighters. They remained on the scene until about 2 a.m., Bowlin said.
The Willow Springs Township Fire Department also battled a structure fire on Dec. 27 at 195 E. 1100 Road. However that house was still habitable.
"All of our calls we have had recently have been paged out as structure fires," Bowlin said. "Some of them have been false alarms. This was our first major structure fire."
Palmyra firefighters also responded to a grass fire several miles east of town on Saturday night, which was visible for miles.
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