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Early morning fire destroys home

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HOME:The home continued to smoke for hours after firefighters controlled the flames Monday morning.
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FIRE: Noble Township Fire Department firefighters assess damage around 10 a.m. Monday morning, after the home at 3166 S. Bailey Rd. caught fire around 2 a.m.

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI, amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

An early morning fire destroyed a Bailey Street home on Monday, resulting in more than $200,000-worth of damage while the family was away, according to the Noble Township Fire Department (NTFD).

The fire started around 2 a.m. Monday morning at 3166 S. Bailey Rd., NTFD said. Firefighters were dispatched shortly after receiving a call at 2:16 a.m. that morning. There were no injuries or deaths reported, as NTFD Chief Nathan Zinn says the family was not home during the incident.

Government property records say Richard and Jennifer Simpson own the property.

Tracie Vanhoose, Jennifer Simpson’s step mother and neighbor, said the couple were on vacation at the time of the fire and planned to return Monday night.

Vanhoose said officers asked neighbors to pack up their belongings and evacuate. That's standard practice, according to Wabash City Police Public Information Officer Captain Matt Benson, who said it's protocol to evacuate nearby residents anytime a fire threatens to spread or endanger gas lines. 

“I’ve never been around a fire like that before. It was just shooting right out of the top of the house,” Vanhoose said. “The police had just got here – I don’t know who called – and they were knocking on the door, which woke me up out of a dead sleep about 2:30 a.m. They were telling us to get a few things and go because the fire trucks were coming. And they were wanting to know if anybody was home.”

Steam continued to rise from the remains of the structure as the NTFD investigated the scene late Monday morning.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is currently investigating to determine the cause of the fire. The results of that investigation were not available as of deadline Monday.

Vanhoose said the family’s pets were at a caretaker's home at the time of the fire. She said she was glad nobody was injured in the fire.

Responding to the incident were Wabash County Central Dispatch, Liberty Township Fire Department, Lagro Volunteer Fire Department, Wabash City Fire Department, Wabash County Emergency Management Agency, Wabash County Sheriff’s Department and Wabash City Police.