The St. Maries Fire Protection District (SMFPD) responded to a home fire that resulted in a total loss.
At 2 p.m., Tuesday, December 28, the SMFPD, Plummer Gateway Fire and the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office both responded to a call of a house on fire on Cherry Creek Road.
Undersheriff Tyler Morris was the first on scene and said when he arrived the home was already engulfed in flames.
“Luckily the family had left for the day,” Undersheriff Morris said. “When I got there the whole house was on fire. It was my initial priority to make sure no other homes were going to catch fire and help anyone get out of their residences.”
Shortly after the arrival of deputies the SMFPD arrived to secure the fire. Chief Lance Homann said whatever was inside the home was lost, including the owner’s pets.
“It was a total loss,” Chief Homann said. “The owners lost everything including their three dogs.”
The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office determined after investigation that the cause of the fire was due to combustible material too close to a heat source, which was determined to be a wood stove.
“The Idaho State Fire Marshal believed it started where the pipe chimney on the stove goes through the wall,” Chief Homann said. “Something overheated in there.”
Overall 12 members of the SMFPD responded to the fire along with two from Gateway Fire and four deputies from the BCSO. A PotlatchDeltic water tinder and Gateway Fire water tinder both responded to the fire as well.
After news of the fire made way to the St. Maries community, an outpouring of support came for the home owners, Louann and Clarence Durham and their three daughters.
Hidden Beauty Salon and Archie’s IGA have both collected money and clothes for the family. Mia Suchoski with Timber Realty said she was also able to get the family set up in an apartment just days after the fire.
Louann said it has been over a week since the fire and the family already has everything it needs.
“You can be sorry for our losses but it’s better to be thankful for all of our blessings,” Louann said. “We became community members two years ago and the support confirmed that we are not going anywhere.”
“We just want to give a huge thank you to our community,” she added.