Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 19, 2014

‘It’s quite a deal’

House destroyed in rural Columbus Junction when fire rekindles
By David Hotle | Jul 29, 2013
A burned foundation was all that remained of Paul Herring’s house this morning as workers tried to restore power and water to his outbuildings.

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — Paul Herring said that the fire that started in his kitchen Saturday night had not been a large fire. He believes he could have put it out with a fire extinguisher.
No one was home later in the night when the fire rekindled and destroyed the house. This morning, Herring looked at the charred foundation and remains of his house. He pointed out the burn marks on upper branches of nearby trees. He also watched as workers restored power and water to the outbuildings that house his cattle.
“I came back over at 7 a.m. (Sunday) and the house was gone,” he said. “I came around the corner looking for the house and I couldn’t see it.”
Herring said that the event began at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday when a fire on the stove got out of hand. He called the fire department. Ainsworth Fire, Columbus Junction Fire and Washington Fire responded to the residence at 20652 County Line Road. According to the police call log, the fire was extinguished and the firefighters reported leaving the scene at about 10:30 p.m.
At the request of the firefighters, Herring and his wife stayed at their son’s house for the night with the intent of assessing the damage the following morning. He said his son George lives about two miles north of the house. Herring also said that his son’s house is where they keep most of their farming equipment.
Herring said he had left about 1:30 a.m. Between then and 7 a.m., he said, the house must have caught fire and burned to the ground.
“We hadn’t even taken anything out of the house,” he said. “We had talked about taking refrigerators or freezers, but we figured we would get them in the morning.”
The house, Herring said, had several additions built onto it. He said it was two stories in some areas.
Herring said that he owned the house since 1984. He said the house was insured. He owns another house about a mile west, with a renter in it.
“It’s quite a deal,” Herring said. “I have never lost a house or even part of a house. We lost one building probably 30 years ago – wind took it.”

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