Family escapes porch fire

The family was upstairs when they saw smoke coming in through the window


By William Smith
The Hawk Eye

BURLINGTON, Iowa – A family of six escaped their Burlington home unscathed after a porch fire filled the inside of the house with smoke Saturday afternoon.

The Burlington and West Burlington Fire Departments arrived at the house at 203 S. Eighth St. at 12:35 p.m. to find a fair amount of smoke coming from the rear of the two-story building.

The fire, which had spread from the porch to the second-floor exterior, was under control in about eight minutes and never made it inside.

Firefighters stayed on scene for about three hours, tearing into the walls to make sure there were no remaining hot-spots. The house is being rented to Scott Simpson and Kenisha Knox, who have four boys living with them, ages 12, 8, 5 and 7 months. They just moved into the house less than a week ago and still were in the process of unpacking.

The family was upstairs when Simpson noticed smoke coming in through the window. He quickly got everyone out of the house and called 911.

Simpson and his family were aided by the Des Moines County chapter of the American Red Cross in finding lodging for the weekend and may be able to move back into their home this week. Damage to the house is estimated at $10,000, while damage to the contents is estimated at $3,000.

The owner of the house is Henry Kivlahan, who lives in Burlington. The cause of the fire is undetermined and remains under investigation.

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