A home near the Highway 370 toll bridge in Mills County, Iowa, burned overnight and only the foundation remained by early Wednesday.
The Mills County Sheriff's Office and the Iowa State Patrol responded to a call from a security company around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday that the home's motion-detecting security alarms were going off, said Sgt. Kim Clark of the Sheriff's Office. When officers entered the home, Clark said, they discovered multiple alarms going off and a fire.
Homeowner Gerald Nibbe, 69, said he was in Omaha visiting his son at the time.
Law enforcement also was investigating a vehicle parked on the property. The car's owner reported that he had lent it to a friend. “We're pretty confident in saying we do not have a death investigation,” Clark said.
Hot spots remained in the damage as of Wednesday morning and Clark said that the home would probably burn for a few days before a fire marshal could perform an inspection and determine the cause.
Volunteer fire crews from Pacific Junction, Glenwood, Oak Township and Lewis Township fought the blaze overnight, dumping about 40,000 gallons of water on it. They eventually left it to let the fire burn out.
Clark said so much was packed in the home that it made fighting the flames difficult. Crews returned early Wednesday and had extinguished the fire by late morning.
Nibbe received calls from the security company and law enforcement and arrived between 11 p.m. and midnight to find his home ablaze. “Next thing I knew, it was coming through the roof,” Nibbe said. “It's a shock to my system, what happened.”
He had lived in the home since the 1970s. Two classic cars, which were located in a garage next to the house, were among the damage, he said.
He was unsure of what he would do as of Wednesday morning but said his daughter and a son both live in Omaha. “One foot in front of the other, one day at a time.”