Neighbors unable to put out Scaggsville house fire

January 21, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

Neighbors with fire extinguishers and a water bucket failed to save a Scaggsville home from serious damage yesterday afternoon in a fire they say was ignited by fireplace ashes placed in a trash can in the garage.

The blaze brought 11 emergency units and 40 firefighters to the two-story home in the 8800 block of Cardinal Forest Circle at 2:03 p.m.

An hour later, the garage and part of the second-floor of the home stood charred and the family of four was displaced. Two cars in the garage, a Honda and a Hyundai, also burned, county fire officials said.

Fire officials were investigating the fire last night. No estimate of the property damage was available. No injuries were reported.

The family -- Stephen Kaisler, his wife and their 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son -- found temporary shelter at a next-door neighbor's house.

"It was just too much," said another neighbor, Rob Ryan, 21, who had helped warn the family. "One minute and it was out of control."

Firefighters said the weather was the toughest part of their task. The slippery pavement provided poor footing and 15-degree temperatures forced some firefighters to a heated bus for temporary relief.

Fire trucks held by chocks lined the icy street, and one from the Savage station slipped and rammed into the rear of a Rivers Park engine. The water from fire hoses quickly layered the streets with even more ice.

Meanwhile, the Kaisler family peered from their neighbor's front windows as two dozen other neighbors lined the street to watch the firefighters. The house, blackened by smoke and flames, stood in stark contrast on the winding white street with snow-covered rooftops and yards.

Firefighters went into the house,rescuing a hermit crab, two cats -- Sprite and Gizmo -- and a teddy bear and delivering them to the family as they waited next door.

"You can't help but feel sorry for these people, especially in these harsh conditions," said Sgt. Robert Wiseman of the fire and rescue team.

It was shortly before 2 p.m. yesterday that Rob Ryan and his father, John, shoveling snow from their driveway across the street, saw smoke pouring from their neighbor's garage. The younger man said he called the fire department while his father knocked on the Kaislers' front door. Smoke detectors in the home were activated by then, he said.

The two summoned other neighbors, including Joe Gluth, who was parking his car. They emptied five fire extinguishers in their futile effort to snub out the blaze before it spread from the garage.

Neighbors said Mr. Kaisler, in his bare feet, helped in the effort and had to be restrained from going back into the house to save valuables.

"The fire was too intense at that point," said Rob Ryan. "There was not much else we could do. We did all we could."

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