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Homeowner's quick action may have saved Hudson residence

Jun 3, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

When he noticed his van was on fire, the Hudson resident grabbed a garden hose and started spraying down his house to keep the structure cool.

County officials are investigating a vehicle fire that started for unknown reasons at a residence in Hudson.

No one was injured in the blaze, which reportedly began at about 10 p.m. Friday, May 24, in the front passenger seat of a 2001 minivan. Fremont County Fire Protection District deputy chief Dan Oakley said the vehicle was parked about 10 feet from a home in the 200 block of West Coal Street in Hudson.

"The fire ... completely destroyed the van and all of its contents and actually did damage to the residence," Oakley said Tuesday, adding that the house is habitable. "It was all exterior (and) repairable damage. It melted the siding (and) cracked one window but never actually made it into the house."

He said the homeowner's quick response likely saved the home. When he noticed his van was on fire, the Hudson resident grabbed a garden hose and started spraying down his house to keep the structure cool.

"(First) they tried to put the car out, but the vehicle was burning too hot for him and he had to back off," Oakley said.

When the Hudson Fire Department arrived on scene, Oakley said the crew was able to use a fire hydrant immediately in front of the residence. They cleared the scene of bystanders, including the homeowner, and began fighting the blaze while continuing to douse the house.

"(They went) between the car and the house ... until they got the car shut down enough that it wasn't putting off enough heat and the house wasn't in danger," Oakley said.

"At that point the house was the priority. ... There was no way they were going to be able to put that car out."

Oakley said firefighters cleared the scene at about 11:30 p.m. Investigators have determined that the fire started near the passenger compartment of the vehicle, but Oakley didn't indicate that the blaze was immediately suspicious.

When asked if ignitable fluids were found at the scene, he said, "Not that can be determined at this time." The incident is under investigation through the Fremont County Fire Protection District and the Fremont County Sheriff's Office.

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