DES MOINES, Iowa – Fire officials say the cause of a house fire that seriously injured a woman Tuesday has been determined to be charcoal briquettes that were being used to heat the home.
Fire crews were called to a home in the 1300 block of 12th Street just after 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived, the home was engulfed by flame.
Brian O’Keefe with the Des Moines Fire Department tells WHO Radio News firefighters were able to get inside and rescue a woman from a back bedroom on the second floor. They used a back window to get the woman out of the home.
Police say CPR was performed on the woman at the scene and she was taken to a Des Moines hospital before being flown to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City. Her name and current condition are not being released.
O’Keefe says investigators have discovered the fire began in the front room on the first floor of the home, where a man had ignited charcoal briquettes in a pan to help heat the home. Blankets and bedding nearby the charcoal caught fire and spread the flames. He says ad it not been for the fire, the two might have died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the burning briquettes.
O’Keefe says utilities to the house were disconnected at the time of the fire.
Neighbors told Channel 13, WHO TV the home's owner had recently died, and those living there were squatters.
Top photo by Gary Walther. Bottom photo WHO TV.