Fire destroys home outside of McGregor, donations needed
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
A fire completely engulfed and destroyed the Southwick home at 17454 Lariat Rd., outside McGregor, on Friday, Nov. 29. The McGregor Fire Department arrived on the scene around 11:30 a.m. after receiving a call from a motorist who saw the smoke from Great River Road, past Pikes Peak State Park.
McGregor Fire Chief Dan Bickel said 22 men and six units responded. The Garnavillo Fire Department, Mar-Mac Unified Law Enforcement and Clayton County Sheriff’s Office also provided assistance. When they arrived, Bickel said the brick home, which was once a school house, was fully engulfed. Since there were vehicles parked outside, firefighters initially thought there were occupants inside, so they tried to make entry, breaking down the front door. However, the fire prevented them from proceeding further.
Bickel said it turned out the occupants, the three Southwick brothers, were not inside, as they had left earlier in the day and were eating lunch in town. But their home was not so lucky.
“They never saved a thing,” Bickel said. “There wasn’t anything anyone could do.”
The Red Cross is providing the brothers with temporary shelter and Gay Hallberg is organizing a drive to collect everything from clothing, furniture and beds to kitchen supplies, household items, bathroom essentials and toiletries. If you would like to donate, please contact Hallberg at (563) 873-2761 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contribute to the Southwick Fire Benefit fund at Central State Bank.
Bickel said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.