Fireplace to blame for fire that badly damaged Caldwell home

CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - A Caldwell mother and her five children are without a home after a two-alarm fire seriously damaged their home Wednesday morning.

The Caldwell Fire Marshal determined an old fireplace that was running at the time is to blame, for it set the roof of the home on fire shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. Crews from Caldwell, Nampa, Star and Middleton responded to the call.

"When we got here the fire had a pretty good start on us because it already vented through the roof," Battalion Chief Bud Bryson said.

That put fire crews at a disadvantage from the beginning.

"That's always kind of an indicator for us that the fire had been burning for awhile up in the overhead," Bryson said. "That makes it a dangerous situation for our crews once we go inside."

Bryson said the threat forced them to pull firefighters back outside to fight the fire from a defensive standpoint. While the damage was concentrated near the roof, it took crews about a half an hour to get the flames under control. By that point, there was serious damage to the home.

"I didn't see the inside but with the water coming through it and the looks of the building, it took a hard hit no doubt," witness Jim Treantenou said.

Treantenou stopped to see what was happening after he heard sirens.

"Both fire trucks with their extensions out were flooding the house," he said. "You could see the water coming flooding out the front door step like a waterfall."

Bryson said the family was already outside when they arrived, and that the mother, her five children and their dog were all safe. Only the youngest child was at home when the fire broke out.

Treantenou says he feels for the family, who, within minutes, might have lost everything.

"Now they're homeless with almost nothing," he said. "They need help. It's sad you know? Because what do they have? They have the dog and the kids, which is good don't get me wrong! But it's sad."