Fire leaves home unsalvageable

Published 9:48 am Thursday, August 13, 2015

A house at 219 Blake Drive was found burning in the morning hours Wednesday. The home belongs to Pete and Betty Toten.

Culkin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lamar Frederick they got the call at 7:48 Wednesday morning.

“Temperatures were well over 1,500 degrees,” he said. “When we drove up to the house, flames were up through the roof on the back left corner of the house.”

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Frederick said there were two responders from the Culkin fire department, two from Northeast and about 16 or 17 additional personnel.

The homeowner, Pete Toten, said no one was at home at the time the fire started.

“I was on my way to work and my wife Betty was at work,” he said.

The exact cause of the fire has not been determined, officials said.

“They seem to think it was a little window air conditioning unit,” Toten said. “They’re not positive.”

Toten said he had just moved into the house a little over a year ago.

“We bought the house, and it had to be totally renovated,” he said. “I took my savings out and my 401k and renovated the house.”

Toten said fire officials told him his home was unsalvageable.

Frederick said Warren County is up to about 800 fire calls for the year, which he said is about average.

“You never know what is going to cause a fire, but always make sure everything is turned off in the home,” he said. “Make sure the stove is turned off. You never want to leave anything burning.”