The cause of the fire, which was reported at 9:27 a.m., remains under investigation but is believed to be accidental, according to the Albion Fire Department. No one was home at the time, but a family dog inside the house was killed. One firefighter was treated at the scene for a back injury.
The fire apparently started in the home's basement, possibly in the ceiling area, burned through a floor and quickly spread upward into the attic. Albion and Orange Township firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the two story wood frame structure, while workers from Whiteshire Hamrock Farms used fire extinguishers to attack the blaze. The Lemmon home is at the Whiteshire Hamrock property at 1818 E 600 N.
But the blaze started in an area at the upwind portion of the building, and a strong wind helped push flames through the structure. With fire in the basement and also burning through the roof, firefighters were forced to abandon their attempt to attack the blaze from inside and go to a defensive attack. They controlled the fire with the help of elevated water streams mounted on a Kendallville Fire Department ladder truck, supported by water tankers brought in from several neighboring fire departments.
The home has an estimated value of about $260,000, and received heavy fire, smoke and water damage to the structure and contents.
Firefighters were hampered by a combination of wind and cold temperatures. Trucks and manpower from the Albion, Orange Township, Avilla, Churubusco, Kendallville and Ligonier Fire Departments responded to the scene, while Noble Township and Johnson Township fire units provided standby assistance. Noble County EMS and Noble REMC personnel also worked at the scene.
Cr 600N was blocked by fire trucks and a water shuttle operation during the incident, so Noble County Highway Department and Sheriff's Department units came out to provide traffic control.
After controlling the flames, firefighters used a special water additive to seep into hidden areas where fire might be smoldering, and thermal imaging cameras to seek out hot spots. They were on the scene for over five hours.
Many of the same firefighters responded to that farm property in November, when fire broke out in a large grain bin. The house itself was built in the 80's to replace a home that was demolished, with the debris burned in a training exercise by the Albion Fire Department.