Terrill Martin stood and watched in disbelief Wednesday morning as firefighters from three different departments worked to put out a fire in the house he had purchased only eight months ago.
Blair, Fort Calhoun and Kennard firefighters responded just after 8:30 a.m. to the blaze at 280 N. 22nd St. in Blair.
Neighbors reported seeing smoke coming from the house. Flames could be seen shooting out of a basement window as firefighters arrived.
Martin said he was unsure when he realized the house was on fire.
“At this point, I can't even tell you right now,” he said.
Blair Fire Chief Dave Aten said the fire appeared to have started in a bedroom in the basement and spread through the walls. The Nebraska State Fire Marshal was also on scene Wednesday. However, the cause of the fire remains undetermined.
It took firefighters about 25 minutes to get the fire under control. Aten said the house is a total loss.
“Between smoke and fire, it will be a total loss,” he said. “The floor is sagging in the living room.”
Aten said basement fires can be one of the most difficult to fight.
“They went in through the side window, but the only access is the stairwell right here,” he said pointing to a door near the garage. “You've only got one way in, everything has got one way out, so you're fighting the heat coming out as you're going in. It's not good.”