Quick action saves structure in house fire

Quick action by a passerby made a big difference Sunday night as he alerted a resident of a fire in an upstairs bedroom.

According the Jefferson fire chief Jack Williams and Jefferson police chief Mark Clouse’s daily report, Brandon Mitchell, 25, of Jefferson  was driving in the 500 block of N. Maple St at 9:21 pm when he saw flames in the upstairs of the house at 502 N. Maple.

He knocked on the door and told the resident, Lois Wistenberg, 79, of the fire. She was unaware of it. She left the house immediately.

The Jefferson police and a state trooper responded to the fire, along with the Jefferson fire department.

Wistenberg’s granddaughter Chloe Anderson lives with Wistenberg during the week. Anderson said her grandmother had been sitting on the porch shortly after 9. Wistenberg sent her a text message saying she heard what she thought was animals on the roof. She went back in the house, not realizing that what she heard was a fire.

Williams said the fire “was close to getting a good start” at destroying the frame house, which was built in 1900. He said the fire was likely burning only a few minutes before Mitchell saw it.

Eighteen firemen spent about an hour and 20 minutes fighting the fire, which was caused by an overloaded electrical drop cord.

There is little apparent damage on the exterior of the house, but according to Wistenberg’s daughter Lisa Anderson, there is concern that the floor of the upstairs bedroom will collapse into the living room. Anderson said a ruptured water heater helped contain the fire.

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