County cop saves man from
burning home in Washington Township
By Jeff Burton Nwi times Friday,
February 25, 2011
Officer Justin Reeder
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Fire officials believe had
it not been for a loyal dog and a quick-thinking
Porter County sheriff's officer, a 69-year-old
man may not have made it out of his burning home
Washington Township Fire Chief Rob Huffstodt
said firefighters, medics and police responded
to a home in the 300 block of North County Road
575 East about 9:15 p.m. after a neighbor
reported an active house fire.
"It had a good start before we got there,"
Huffstodt said. "When I got on the scene flames
were coming through the roof."
Huffstodt said neighbors told first responders
they believed a dog was inside the house and the
homeowners were both out of town.
But Officer Justin Reeder quickly learned that
wasn't the case.
In a report, Reeder said he approached the
burning house and saw a light on inside. The
officer said he yelled to see if anyone was
inside and then saw a dog moving back and forth
in a hallway.
As the officer entered the home to remove the
dog, he said saw a computer screen and other
lights on in the house. Reeder said when he
reached the home's kitchen, he found a
69-year-old man disoriented and stumbling.
Reeder said as he was escorting the man and his
dog out of the house, the living room was
engulfed in flames.
Huffstodt said while the man's wife was out of
town, he remained home, unbeknownst to his
neighbors. Huffstodt said medics on the scene
examined the man, who was uninjured.
Huffstodt said crews battled the fire for about
five hours. Due to its rural location and a lack
of hydrants, Huffstodt said, tankers and
firefighters from Westville, Chesterton and
Kouts, as well as Cass-Clinton, Morgan, Liberty
and Union townships assisted in battling the
Thursday afternoon, most of the roof on the
wood-sided home was caved in and all the windows
knocked out. The wood siding surrounding the
structure was covered with soot and the home was
encircled with caution tape. Huffstodt said
while four walls are still standing, the
$250,000 home is unlivable and considered a
Huffstodt said the Porter County Fire
Investigation Strike Team is investigating what
caused the fire.