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One Person Killed in Belle Plaine House Fire

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BELLE PLAINE, Iowa - One woman is dead following a house fire in Belle Plaine. It happened Saturday night at about 11:30 on 11th street. Belle Plaine firefighters say they tried to save the victim and her two dogs but it was too late. The flames and smoke were too powerful.

"I heard on the scanner there was a fire reported," said the victim's neighbor Sheila Richter. So Belle Plaine's Sheila Richter casually looked out her patio door at about 11:30 Saturday night. But her mood soon changed when she saw the fire was in her own neighborhood. "It was devastating and too close to home," said Richter.

The home of Richter's friend of 15 years was fully engulfed in flames. Richter watched as 25 volunteer Belle Plaine firefighters tried to save her friend and two dogs.

"We started in the front because we got good information that she was in front," said Belle Plaine Fire Chief Russ Spading. "We got the fire under control got her removed and then basically into a defensive mode."

But it was too late for the victim and her canine companions. "No one could live in those conditions the fire was too big too much smoke," said Spading.

The following morning Richter looked on as fire investigators try to figure out what happened. Regardless of the cause, Richter says she and the whole community are now without someone she truly loved. "A nice lady with a good heart. She's going to be missed," said Richter.

Firefighters say the woman and two dogs likely died from smoke inhalation as there were no visible burns. They've yet to release the victim's name. Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the fire.

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