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Untended burn barrel blamed for fire

REXBURG, Idaho - A burn barrel left untended is blamed for a fire that destroyed a house and three vehicles near Rexburg on Tuesday.  Rexburg-Madison Emergency Services Chief Corey Child said the fire was reported around 4 p.m. at 5676 S. 2000 West.

He said the son of the unidentified owner of the house had started a fire in a burn barrel behind the house, but did not monitor it. The fire spread into weeds and under a car, which lit the garage and then the house itself on fire.  

He said the fire was difficult to fight because the house was an older building with additions and a metal roof that had been constructed over the top of its original roof.  That created a heat space that was difficult for firefighters to reach.  The fire department used a backhoe to tear the roof off the building at around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire and no one was injured. Child said the family was able to rescue some keepsakes.  He estimates damage at about $350,000.

Four fire engines, two water tenders, an ambulance and several support vehicles helped 28 firefighters battle the fire.  Crews were still mopping up hot spots early Wednesday.

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