Rural Fire Department Responds to Kuester Lake House Fire

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

It's a way that no one wants to wake up... your home filling with smoke.
A morning fire at Kuester Lake, near Grand Island, brought a response from five fire departments.

"We woke up to the house full of smoke. We tried to grab what we could and get out," said Chet Castor, homeowner on Kuester Lake.

Grand Island Rural Fire Department Chief Chuck Hoffman says they responded before 7 a.m. and called for mutual aid from Alda, the City of Grand Island, Doniphan and St. Librory.
Chet Castor says it all happened so fast.

"Everybody's screaming get out! Get out! My son kept trying to go in there to put it out and finally got him convinced to stay out of there," said Castor.

Chief Hoffman says the fire was deep seeded in the attic, making it difficult put out the flames.

"We initially responded with one engine company, which is what they requested. About 15 or 20 minutes later, they requested our ladder truck for aerial operations," said Tim Hiemer, Grand Island Fire Division Chief.

With no access to fire hydrants, crews had to use alternatives.

"There are no hydrants out in that area, outside the city limits. So the rural fire department had to rely on their tankers and tankers from two other fire departments," said Hiemer.

Officials say the fire was under control after about 30 to 45 minutes. But for Castor, not having a home is overwhelming.

"I don't know. I'm lost, I'll be quite honest with you. I don't know where to start," said Castor.

Chief Hoffman says they won't know the exact cause of the fire until further investigation, but he said the area of origin was in the attic near a natural gas furnace.


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