Two firefighters, two civilians and two pets suffered injuries in a Wednesday night house fire that is under investigation as of Thursday morning, Sept. 14, 2023.
Columbus Fire Chief Ryan Gray said the department was dispatched to a report of a residential structure fire in the 1300 block of 1st Street about 10:27 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13. Upon arrival, crews found a single-family residence with smoke showing from multiple windows and doors. Columbus firefighters quickly determined all human occupants were out of the home, but there were still pets trapped inside.
“Crews were able to make quick access to extinguish the fire and did rescue one cat. A dog was thought to also be inside the home, but after completing a search and speaking to the homeowner, it was determined the dog had escaped prior to our arrival,” Gray said, adding the cat and one of the six dogs on scene were treated for smoke inhalation before being released to the owner.
Two occupants suffered minor injuries, with one being treated and released while the other was taken to Columbus Community Hospital and later released, Gray noted. The Columbus fire chief said two firefighters also suffered minor injuries, but neither required any treatment.
Gray said firefighters left the scene about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, and called the house “unlivable.” The fire chief added a cause for the fire has yet-to-be-determined and that the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted and is currently investigating. The American Red Cross responded to the scene to provide additional assistance to the occupants.
“Firefighting is dangerous; there’s no app for this. But at the same time, it’s very rewarding to serve our community and be there for others when disaster strikes,” Gray said. “I want to thank all our responders for their swift response. I’m thankful those who suffered injuries are doing OK.”
One of the occupants’ dogs, a yellow lab, was seen by witnesses running away from the residence down 3rd Avenue and had not yet been located as of Thursday morning, according to Gray.