Woman loses home, pets

Sagle widow recovering after fire claims residence

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A 71-year-old woman escaped a fire that razed her Sagle home on Wednesday night. (Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD)

SAGLE — A recent widow lost her home, pets and nearly all of her possessions in a fast-moving fire that swept through her residence on Wednesday night.

A 71-year-old woman is reportedly being treated for smoke inhalation and is expected to survive.

Sagle Fire Chief Robert Webber said he could not comment on the woman’s injuries or condition, or release her identity due to a privacy clause in the federal Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act.

Webber said arrangements have been made for her to receive assistance from the Red Cross and 1-800-BoardUp, which aids fire victims. It was not clear Thursday if a bank account has been established to collect donations for the woman, who lost all but a handful of her personal possessions.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, although Webber said foul play has been ruled out.

“The house is a total loss,” Webber said of the woman’s uninsured modified mobile home.

The remains of three dogs and three cats were found in the home. Three additional cats were still missing on Thursday.

The fire broke out shortly after 8 p.m. on Hawthorne Drive.

“She smelled smoke and was able to get out,” said Webber.

Bonner County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Deal and a neighboring landowner reportedly kicked in the slats of a perimeter fence to help the woman reach safety.

Thirty firefighters from Sagle, Sandpoint, and the Northside and Westside fire districts fought the blaze. No firefighter injuries were reported, although Sagle firefighter Jason Cordle had a close call with an exploding 5-gallon propane tank, said Webber.

The home was without smoke detectors.

Webber said the district has smoke detectors on hand and has a standing offer to distribute them to residents within the district.

“We’re more than happy to put them up,” Webber said.

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