A house at 6445 25th Avenue between Vinton and Shellsburg was mostly destroyed by fire on Sunday, and firefighters from those two towns as well as Newhall faced the unusual and dangerous challenge of fighting extreme heat and extreme cold at the same time.

"We were just talking yesterday about how tough it would be to fight a fire in this weather and we got the call," said Vinton fireman Josh McGowan.

Danielle Wiese and fiance Joshua Westlund recently bought the house; the family was not at home at the time, although firemen reported the death of some pets.

"They lost two dogs and a cat," says Josh's mother, Suzie Westlund. "Their pets meant the world to them." Insurance will replace their belongings, but the couple is grieving the loss of their pets, she said.

McGowan estimated damage at $75,000 to $80,000.

Weather challenges

"People think that fighting a fire keeps us warm, but that's not the case," said McGowan.

Fireman face extreme heat while inside but also must battle the extreme cold the moment they step outside. Those extremes become even more dangerous because the accumulation of water which freezes quickly on their protective suits in such conditions.

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Comments (2)

We thank God for the volunteer firemen from our town and the surrounding communities. Stay safe and thank you!!
By: Okee Walker on January 6th 1:28pm
I agree. Thank you for all you do at a moments notice, in very uncomfortable conditions. God be with you.
By: Julie Hansen on January 6th 8:23pm

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