Martell Home Total Loss After Fire

Martell, Neb.-- A rural Martell couple is sifting through the ashes after a fire roars through their home.

Just before 10:45 Wednesday night, fire crews were called to the 2400 block of SW 29th street outside of Martell.

According to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, one of the homeowners - Peggy Bojanski - woke to a fire alarm. She smelled smoke and alerted her husband, William Bojanski.

Peggy also said a smoke detector played a big role in warning her of the danger.

"It did save our lives," Peggy said. "Otherwise, I don't know. The smoke would've come into our bedroom and who knows what would've happened."

Deputies said the couple had a wood burning stove in the basement that got out of control. The Bojanskis saw flames, but were not able to extinguish the fire.

They escaped the home unharmed, but officials say the fire caused $310,000 damage.

Though they didn't suffer serious injuries, Peggy said they're afraid one of their cats - Carl - was killed. The dog made it out safely, and the cats our outdoor cats, but Peggy believes the other cats are OK.

The family will be staying at a spare home in Sprague, until they can rebuild on their property. They said insurance should cover most of the damage, and that they'd been living on the property for 25 years.

The State Fire Marshal's Office says the fire was accidental. Southwest Rural, Hallam, Claytonia and Firth Fire Departments all responded to the blaze.