The North Bend Eagle


A North Bend fire fighter directs a hose at the house
of Troy Childress as smoke and steam billow out.

Pets lost, house damaged in North Bend fire

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 2/4/15

Troy Childress has been in his house at 7th and Catalpa in North Bend for three years. Childress, 44, had purchased the ranch style house from his sister and brother-in-law, Gloria Maas and Leonard Westerman.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, he had been paid for his job with S & Sons Inc. and decided to go to Arlie’s Bar to have a beer. Over the bar’s police radio scanner came the report of a house fire called in by two passers-by. Childress recognized his own address.

He quickly traversed the three and a half blocks home and got there before the fire department arrived. He tried to get in his house to save his pets, but it was too smoky.

The North Bend fire department arrived and the fire was soon out. But the damage was done.

According to fire chief Kevin Dubbs, when the North Bend Fire Department arrived they found smoke coming from roof. The first unit on scene reported heavy smoke coming from the roof and windows. Fire crews entered the home and found fire in the kitchen and living room area with heavy smoke and heat damage to the rest of home. Fire crews extinguished the fire and overhauled the rooms. Ten firefighters from North Bend and five from Morse Buff were on scene to fight the fire.

“The cause of the fire is undetermined but believed to be electrical,” Dubbs said.

Lost were Childress’ pets: Karma, a seven-month-old Rottweiler–black Lab mix, and Lucky, a cat who had survived a dog bite, stroke and frostbite. Childress was not sure of the cat’s age as she had come with the house.

“I guess her nine lives were up,” Childress said. “I tried calling her out, but she was probably already gone.”

There was also a 125-gallon tank with 13 koi fish in it. It burst and the koi fish were fried.

Childress had no insurance, but he plans to rebuild.

“The house is structurally sound,” Childress said. “I’ll have to gut the house. It’ll take a lot of work to fix. I will do most of the work myself with the help of family and friends.”

Childress is staying with a neighbor for a few days. He had more than three people offer to house him until he got his house livable again.

Childress was night manager at the North Bend Mini Mart for a year, so he feels like he knows many people in North Bend. He grew up in Elkhorn, lived in Omaha for 12 years, and then Fremont for a few months before buying the house in North Bend and he has every intention of staying here.

“I love this town,” Childress said. “The people here are great.”

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