Garage, cars are lost in fire
Published: Thursday, September 13th, 2012
When Richard Hiermeier woke up to a popping noise around 12:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, he wasn’t sure what was going on. He got up from bed, looked out the window and saw the smoke.
His house was on fire.
“I’m so thankful the popping woke me up,” Hiermeier said. “If there was no popping, I would be dead right now.”
Seconds after Hiermeier saw the flames, his power was killed. He yelled for his girlfriend to get out, grabbed the closest flashlight, got the cats out of the house and grabbed some personal items, including socks, shoes and his wallet.
“We made sure to get ourselves and the cats out,” Hiermeier said. “I’m glad we got out. We really had no idea what was going on.”
The Custer Fire Department was the first to respond. They made sure the Hiermeiers and their neighbors were out of their homes and began working on the blaze. The fire started in the garage and quickly spread to the vehicles outside, electric lines and the field behind the house.
“I was really worried about the field and starting a forest fire,” Hiermeier’s neighbor said. “There are homes down there, too. I didn’t want more homes burned.”
The Argyle Fire Department was the next to arrive and they quickly put out the field fire. The Hill City Fire Department was the last on scene and they began assisting with putting out the fire in the attic.
Cause of the fire is uder investigation.
Smoke detectors on the first floor of the home never went off, as they were connected with the home’s electricity. The battery-operated detectors went off half an hour after the Hiermeiers were already outside. An hour later the carbon monoxide alarms were going off, forcing firefighters to suit up with oxygen tanks. All Hiermeier’s vehicles parked outside were engulfed in flames, as was his boat, which was housed in the garage.
At 2:15 a.m., the fire was presumed out, but it quickly restarted in the insulation near the chimney. Firefighters sawed through part of the roof to contain the fire.
“Once it was safe enough we were allowed back in to get more of our things out,” Hiermeier said. “I’m glad we could do that. We were able to save a lot of stuff.”
The home was originally built by Linda Hiermeier, Richard’s grandmother. They purchased the home from her a few years ago.
“I was in horror,” she said about receiving the phone call. “I was worried about the kids.”
Linda was grateful that Hiermeier woke up to the popping and was able to get out unharmed.
“There are a lot of memories in that house,” Linda said. “A lot of memories.”
“From now on I am keeping shotgun shells in every room,” Hiermeier said. “They helped wake me up. I’d be dead if not for that popping.”
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