|Early morning blaze destroys vacant house southwest of Madrid|
By Jan Goff
Area fire departments battled a fire in an abandoned farm house four miles west and three south of Madrid in the early morning hours Monday, Feb. 2.
According to Madrid Fire Chief Don Lee, whose department received the initial call at approximately 3 a.m., by the time fire-fighters arrived at the scene, flames were licking the night sky through the torched roof.
The house, which belonged to Mike Kosmicki of Grant, was a total loss.
The emergency call to the Perkins County dispatcher was made by a neighbor who had gotten up in the middle of the night to check his cattle, said Lee.
Eight Madrid firefighters with five trucks responded, and Grant was called for mutual aid. Venango provided a vehicle with a light source.
Grant Fire Chief Wade Rahn said 15 firefighters from his department responded to the mutual aid call at 3:32 a.m., providing two pumper trucks, two tankers, rescue truck, ambulance and command vehicle. Also at the scene were personnel from the Perkins County Sheriff’s Office and a state fire marshal investigator.
Kosmicki had been trying to thaw a yard hydrant using a burning log, said Deputy Ryan Sylvester, Nebraska state fire marshal investigator of Ogallala. Even though Kosmicki had tried to extinguish it, a light wind in the night stirred embers enough to ignite surrounding vegetation which led flames directly to the house, he said.
The vacant house was used only for storage, and thus there were no insurance issues to deal with, said Sylvester.
The firefighters were at the scene until well past daybreak.
Madrid personnel did not return to the fire hall until nearly 9 a.m, said Lee.
Appreciating the response from neighboring departments, he said, “We are grateful we have everyone for mutual aid. We are so short-handed.”