On Tuesday Dec. 11, a call came in to Canyon County dispatch around 12:30 p.m. of a house fire at 111 Randolph Street in Melba.
Eldon Hinrichs’ home of many years went up in flames as high school students from the seminary class across the street, neighbors and Hinrichs’ two sons helped pull items away from around the home and just inside the front door.
When the front door was opened, the family dog, Maddie, a pit bull, was able to escape from the home.
“None of us was able to go more than five feet inside the front door,” said sophomore Calvin Preisler. “It was so hot.”
When Melba Fire Department Battalion Chief Kyle Winnicki got the call, he immediately called for mutual aid from Upper Deer Flat and Nampa Fire Departments.
A tender and structure engine responded from Melba Fire Department, as well as two additional structure engines from those neighboring departments.
The home was fully engulfedwhen fire departments arrived on scene.
According to Winnicki, also the commanding officer for this fire, there were heavy flames and smoke coming from the home.
Hinrichs was called at work and arrived on scene to see the devastation of his home being destroyed by the fire.
Hinrichs’ two sons and ex-wife live just a few houses down.
“The part that I hate is the kids’ pictures are gone,” said Tammy Thompson, Hinrichs’ ex-wife as she stood by and watched firemen extinguish the fire.
According to Hinrichs, he did not have insurance because he was required to fix his roof before he could get coverage.
“I know that house needed it (torn down),” said Hinrichs. “I just didn’t have anything to put in its place.”
Canyon County Fire Investigator reported the fire started at an outlet in the kitchen where the refrigerator was plugged in using an extension cord.
“I think they could salvage some things, not much,” said Winnicki.
Winnicki reported that two metal boxes were recovered and returned to Hinrichs.
Winnicki believed they had some important documents in them.
Hinrichs was able to stay with Thompson and their sons for a few nights until the Community Baptist Church of Melba offered the parsonage on Can-Ada Road as a temporary home for Hinrichs.
Melba Fire Department has also contacted Red Cross for relief.
Melba Community Auction has stepped in to help replace needed medical equipment lost in the fire.
The community of Melba has come together to donate many items of need for the family.
If you have items to donate, a drop off point has been established at the Melba School District office on Broadway.
For larger items, like furniture, please contact the School District for more information at 495-1141.