Investigators were not ready to declare a cause on Wednesday of a fire that destroyed a North Bend area man’s house, but lightning is the prime suspect.
The North Bend Volunteer Fire Department was called to Jerry Glodowski’s home at 1366 County Road 11 Blvd. shortly before midnight, Fire Chief Kevin Dubbs said.
“When we got there,” Dubbs said, “it was fully involved, it was already through the roof.”
“We believe there was a lightning strike event somewhere on the property, but we can’t say for sure that that started the fire yet. ... It remains under investigation,” Dubbs said.
Glodowski, who lives alone in the one-story house, was on the farm place working his dairy operation, but not in the house at the time of the fire.
“Actually I was out in front of the barn and I heard the sizzle of the lightning. I heard it sizzle through the air before it ever (struck). I just hit the ground is what I did,” Glodowski said.
“I knew it hit one building and blew the fencers out, and blew the fuse box off the wall. ... It split the water line going to the wash machine (at his sister’s house just east of his own on the same property). I was working on that and I was down in the basement, and I could hear what sounded just like a welder or something going and I smelled smoke. I thought it was a shed, but when I got out and looked at my house, the house was burning already,” he said.
“When he discovered that his house was on fire, the front porch area was already fully involved,” Dubbs said.
“It went so fast,” Glodowski said, “there was nothing I could do.”
Glodowski said he was thankful that he was out of the house before the fire started.
“Usually we’re done with milking and stuff, but we had to kill the power and everything to finish milking,” he said.
Tankers from Fremont Rural, Scribner, Nickerson and Snyder provided mutual aid.
After a night of torrential rains, Scribner Fire Chief Ken Thomas said rural roads posed challenges to firefighters on their way to the fire, and trying to maneuver at the fire scene.
The last firefighters were on the scene until about 4 a.m.
Glodowski was left to grapple with the loss on Wednesday after being unable to salvage anything, but able to stay in his sister’s house.
“It would have been nice to be able to get some things out,” he said, adding that he has some work clothes at his sister’s house, “and I’ve got good neighbors and friends. I really appreciate the generosity and help from my friends and neighbors.”
Glodowski lived in the house for 22 years.
“There’s not a lot I can do about it I guess, just clean it up and keep going,” he said.