Goshen News, Goshen, IN

May 7, 2014

Fire damages New Paris home


NEW PARIS — Fire heavily damaged the Jim Erb home in New Paris early Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were dispatched at 2:40 a.m. to fire at 18981 First St. Just hours earlier, Erb had lost the primary election in the Elkhart County Auditor race.

“I don’t know the cause,” Erb said of the fire. “I believe it’s suspicious, but it’s up to the fire marshal to make a determination.

“It’s ironic,” he continued. “I get beat. I ran for auditor and lost and my house burned down. It seems ironic. It’s awful funny to me.”

According to New Paris Fire Department Chief Joe Warstler, the blaze started outside the house at the rear of the residence. He said the cause of the blaze is being investigated.

“While we were en route (to the fire), we called Benton Township Fire Department for assistance with a pumper and manpower,” Warstler added. “There were 17 firefighters from New Paris and 10 from Benton. It took about an hour and a half to get the fire under control. There were no injuries and no estimate on damage yet.”

Erb looked at the blackened exterior of the house Wednesday morning. Dining room chairs were covered with soot and insulation was exposed to the elements.

“The smoke detectors went off and woke us up,” Erb said. “We couldn’t go through the kitchen but made it out through the garage. The fire started outside and worked its way in. It’s pretty nasty. It’s just weird.”

Warstler said Wednesday that State Fire Marshal’s staff had been called to the scene.