The owner of a home in Liberty Township’s Long Lake neighborhood was injured
on Thursday in a fire which significantly damaged his residence, the Liberty
Township Volunteer Fire Department said.
LTVFD Assistant Chief Tom Shapen told the Chesterton Tribune after
deadline on Friday that the call initially came in, at approximately 10
p.m., as a structure fire caused by a vehicle’s striking a home in the 600
north block of C.R. 90E. That report proved to be false, Shapen said,
insofar as the vehicle in question was simply parked close to the home. But
both the vehicle and the residence were fully involved on firefighters’
Assisted by the South Haven and Washington Township departments, LTVFD
firefighters established an interior attack but soon had to abandon it,
after Shapen declared it a “defensive” fire, owing to a “heavy fire load”
which had developed “very rapidly.”
“We had to fight it outside,” Shapen said. “It wasn’t safe to go inside.”
Meanwhile, because the nearest hydrant is located some 900 feet from the
residence--making the process to establish a water supply a “lengthy” one--Shapen
called a tanker plan, enlisting the assistance of the Chesterton and
A further complication was the presence in the neighborhood--consisting of
small lots “crammed together on very narrow streets”--of overhead power
lines, which Shapen said hampered the movement of vehicles. In the end
NIPSCO “cut the power to part of the neighborhood for a few hours.”
Injured in the blaze was the homeowner, although Shapen was unable to say to
what extent he was hurt. The man was, however, treated at the scene by EMS
personnel from Porter Regional Hospital.
Some 20,000 gallons of water were used to douse the fire and then an
extensive overhaul was done, partly necessitated by an area of dead space
between the home’s original flat roof and a subsequent roof addition. “That
posed a major challenge,” Shapen said.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined and under investigation, Shapen
noted, and the Porter County Fire Investigation Strike Team was on the scene
early Friday morning.
Shapen estimated total damage to structure and contents at $250,000.
Shapen took a moment to praise and thank the South Haven, Washington,
Chesterton, and Westville departments for their assistance at the scene.
“All of our crews really stepped up,” he said. “There was excellent
cooperation and great help from all mutual-aid companies.”