A chimney fire that started in the attic has caused a Fernwood family to lose everything.
The home of Don Thormahlen, his granddaughter and her newborn baby, was destroyed in an April 29, fire that began in the middle of the night.
“We got dispatched at about 12:01, just after midnight,” Fernwood Fire Department Chief Mark McQueen said. “When we got there it was fully engulfed.”
Fernwood Fire contacted Emida and St. Maries fire departments for mutual aid, but the structure could not be saved. Chief McQueen said that a downed power-line further complicated fire-fighting efforts.
A GoFundMe page started by friends of Mr. Thormahlen said that none of the family’s possessions were salvageable either.
No one was seriously injured.
“Luckily there were no injuries,” Chief McQueen said. “The homeowner, he tried to save his cat and he came back out. And luckily he did because there was an explosion that singed the back of his hair. He was checked out by the ambulance and was okay.”
The explosion is believed to have been caused by paint thinner according to Chief McQueen.
The fire lasted several hours and required multiple visits from the fire department.
“The Fernwood fire department was there till about 6:30 or 7:30 in the morning,” Chief McQueen said.
“And then we went back later in the day to put out a couple of hotspots. It kept flaring up.”
The home is also something of a historical loss for the area. According to Chief McQueen the structure was one of the oldest homes in Fernwood.
Mr. Thormahlen and his family have been provided a temporary place to stay in the area.
Mr. Thormahlen did not respond to request for comment in time for this publication.
Anyone interested in donating to the family can do so through the GoFundMe page Don Thormahlen House-Fire Fund. Donors have raised $5,480 as of May 12, 2020.