Second major fire strikes north Lake County

2013-01-21T08:32:00Z 2013-01-21T18:46:03Z Second major fire strikes north Lake CountyBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A fire totally destroyed an empty home at the city's southwest corner early Monday morning.

Hammond firefighters were called out at about 3 a.m. and found the back of the home at 4  172nd Place totally involved and flames leaping through the roof, Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith said.

Firefighters immediately encountered a frozen hydrant and had to run hoses from hydrants further away, Smith said. It took firefighters two hours to bring the roaring inferno under control in the frigid temperatures.

As of 8:30 this morning, there were still hotspots, some buried in the rubble of the home, Smith said. A Department of Public Works front loader was going to be used to knock the home down further so the last hotspots could be dealt with, Smith said.

The Hammond fire came less than 12 hours after a major fire in downtown Whiting, which engulfed a dress shop and numerous apartments that residents fled safely.

Hammond firefighters helped Whiting firefighters with that blaze, but it was a different crew that fought the 172nd Place fire, Smith said. Three fire engines, two ladder trucks, and two ambulances were at the scene of the 172nd Place fire.

Firefighters this morning moved quickly to protect a neighboring home from the fire, and Civil Defense personnel patrolled the neighborhood to watch for flying embers that might ignite other homes, Smith said.

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