Electrical short in fish tank causes small fire at vet shelter

by ERIC VANSICKLE, news@waverlynewspapers.com Aug 30, 2017

Bremer County Veterans Affairs Director Neal Jarnagin inspects the damage a small electrical fire to a fish tank made at the LZ Phoenix veterans transitional housing center in Waverly.
Eric VanSickle photo
Alan Ellwanger (foreground), Glen Cyphers (background) and Bob O’Hare (left) use mops to clean the soot off of the walls and ceiling in the living room of LZ Phoenix veterans transitional housing center on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, following a small electrical fire that occurred early Thursday morning, Aug. 24, 2017.
Eric VanSickle photo
Bremer County Veterans Affairs Director Neal Jarnagin holds the damaged electrical strip that started the fire at LZ Phoenix.
Eric VanSickle photo

The lone resident in the LZ Phoenix veterans transitional housing center had a rude awakening early Thursday morning when a small fire was set off by an electrical unit near a fish tank in the living room.

Bremer County Veterans Affairs Director Neal Jarnagin explained on Friday morning during a clean-up effort that around 1 a.m. Thursday, someone had heard some cracking and “a big crash.”

“We came out and we saw that the first floor was filled with smoke,” Jarnagin described in a Facebook Live interview. “So I ran upstairs and got the resident out, and then ran downstairs to see if it was the water heater or something like that.”

When he discovered that wasn’t the cause, he returned to the first floor and saw a couple of small fires through the smoke at the fish tank. He was able to take out the flames with a fire extinguisher and then called 911.

“That was the only damage that there was, was that fish tank,” he said. “There was water everywhere.”

Read more in the Tuesday, August 29 edition of the Bremer County Independent.