020518jr-fire-cedarfalls-3

Fire destroyed a home at 3919 Beaver Ridge Trail, Cedar Falls, on Monday.

CEDAR FALLS —A fire that destroyed a home near Beaver Hills Country Club late Monday was the second blaze in that upscale rural neighborhood in less than a year.

Fire Chief John Bostwick said the cause of fire at 3919 Beaver Ridge Trail is still under investigation. Public Safety Director Jeff Olson said it is believed to have originated in the upper chimney of a wood burning stove.

In March a fire destroyed the home of Goodwill Industries executive Chris Harshbarger at 3614 Beaver Ridge Circle. There are no fire hydrants in the unincorporated area northwest of Cedar Falls city limits. Residents use wells instead of municipal water service.

“The distance to the Beaver Hills area would make it extremely costly to install a water system capable of fire protection,” said Steve Bernard, Cedar Falls Utilities general manager. “The cost would likely be several million dollars to cover the distance and necessary railroad and creek crossings.” It also would have to occur at the initiative of property owners there.

Olson said firefighters followed regular procedures, sending two pumper trucks each with 600-750 gallons of water and a tanker with 1,500 gallons to the scene initially. Then water was hauled from the closest available location at West First and Shirley streets on the west end of town.

“We shuttled 35 tankers full of water to that location with 1,500 to 2,000 gallons each,” Olson said. Nearby Janesville firefighters responded immediately to haul water, assisted by firefighters from Dike, New Hartford, Stout and Shell Rock. Six tankers in all continuously shuttled water, and Black Hawk County personnel cleared, sanded and salted rural roads in the wake of that day’s snowstorm to smooth progress to the scene.

Olson said the city had nine career firefighters, 12 cross-trained public safety officers and two alternative paid-on-call staff on scene fighting the fire, and a total of nearly 40 people including the other departments. City officials say public safety officers, cross-trained in police work as well as fighting fires, allow the city to bring more personnel to a fire scene than ever before.

There were no injuries in Monday’s fire. Bostwick said he believes the family stayed with neighbors following the fire. Property records show the home is owned by Darren and Sara Yoder and was valued at $400,000.

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News Editor

News Editor at the Courier

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