Women escape unharmed from early morning fire, but lose everything

2012-12-21T18:00:00Z 2012-12-21T22:31:16Z Women escape unharmed from early morning fire, but lose everythingJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Three residents of a mobile home escaped unharmed this morning after a fire damaged their home, but have lost all their personal belongings.

Three police officers are also being credited with rescuing two of the homeowner's dogs.

Portage Fire Department Assistant Chief Dan Kodicek said the fire was reported about 5 a.m. at 417 Bronze, inside Oaktree Village Mobile Home Park.

Portage police officers Robert Nichols and Richard Schmitt and Burns Harbor police officer Adam Zosso were the first to arrive. Kodicek said the three crawled through the smoke-filled home and rescued two dogs which were in cages inside the home.

A third dog apparently died in the fire.

The three residents escaped without injury, said Kodicek. The fire consumed a back bedroom and bathroom, damaging about 25 percent of the home.

Kathleen Berg, park manager, said the family consists of a mother, daughter and granddaughter. They are temporarily being relocated into another mobile home.

Berg said the one family member is dependent on a sleep apnea machine, which was lost in the fire and another is insulin dependent and her medication was lost in the fire.

"They lost everything. We are looking for anything and everything for them," said Berg.

Women's clothing sizes being sought are 3X-large tops and slacks; size 16 jeans; size 5/6 slacks; tops sizes extra large and medium and shoes in sizes 8 1/2 and 7. Each of the three women also need winter coats, said Berg.

Anyone wanting to donate to the family can contact Berg at (219) 921-6100.

The Porter County chapter of the American Red Cross is also assisting the family.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, but investigators don't see anything suspicious in the fire's origin.

Kodicek said firefighters made a good stop on the blaze especially in the high wind conditions at the time of the fire.

Assisting Portage were departments from Liberty Township, Burns Harbor, South Haven and Porter EMS.

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