A short in a bathroom vent fan is believed to have started a Tuesday evening fire in a LaGrange County group home owned by ARC Opportunities.
According to ARC CEO Deb Seman, the fire alarm alerted staff and the five female residents around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. “The staff did a phenomenal job,” Seman said. She noted that the house has fire drills six times a month. When the alarm went off Tuesday, staff moved quickly to evacuate the residents and looked up once outside to find smoke coming from the attic area.
Firefighters from the LaGrange and Howe fire departments were called to the scene and had the fire under control in approximately 20 minutes.
The state fire marshal inspected the house Wednesday and determined the fire was caused by an upstairs bathroom vent that likely shorted and started a fire in the attic, according to Seman. “He was impressed with our staff’s reaction and the procedures that are in place. The early detection and alarms saved lives,” she stated.
Seman also noted that the inspector praised the area firefighters. “He couldn’t believe we didn’t have more damage. The fire departments did an outstanding job,” Seman added.
Seman said they do not know how much of the structure will have to be torn down and replaced, but they do plan to rebuild the house. “We’ve already had great support from the community. It’s very heartwarming and moving that people are so concerned,” Seman said.