Fire destroys large Tippecanoe Lake home in Kosciusko County

A side-by-side look at the Ferguson home on Lake Tippecanoe before (photo provided by the Kosicusko County Sheriff's Department) and the day after a large fire.
A side-by-side look at the Ferguson home on Lake Tippecanoe before (photo provided by the Kosicusko County Sheriff's Department) and the day after a large fire.

OSWEGO, Ind. (WANE) — An 11,000 square foot home near Oswego in Kosciusko County was destroyed when it caught fire Thursday night.

Dispatchers received a call of a fire alarm at the home at 5 EMS T35A Lane, on the north side of Lake Tippecanoe, around 10 p.m.

Officials said the first fire units on scene attacked smoke and flames in the attic towards the rear of the home. Firefighters were forced to place hoses from the inside up into the area.

Plain Township Fire Department spokesman Michael Wilson said crews battled inside the home for about 30 to 40 minutes before exiting the home due to the growing concern of the safety for the firefighters and the instability of placing them on the actual roof.

Firefighters were also hampered by the recent snow and frigid overnight temperatures.

Fifty firefighters from seven area departments continued into Friday morning to get the fire under control.

According to Wilson, one firefighter was taken to a hospital in Warsaw for injuries to the face after a small explosion. Wilson said his injuries were considered minor. Kosciusko County dispatchers said the firefighter was transferred to St. Joe Hospital in Fort Wayne to the burn unit.

The home is owned by Jerry Ferguson and his wife. Ferguson helped co-found Biomet Inc. in Warsaw in the mid-70s.

According to Wilson, the Fergusons were in Florida when the home caught fire. They are now on their way back.

Wilson said investigators planned to focus on the rear portion of the home to determine a cause. At this time, they believe the fire possibly started in the attic area accidentally where there had been electrical roof/gutter heaters installed. The fire is currently still under investigation at this time according to Leesburg fire officials, but it is not considered suspicious.

Property managers for the residence were able to assist firefighters with detailed floor plans of the home to assist with fighting the massive fire, according to Wilson.

Crews were on the scene for more than 15 hours. The big flames were mostly out after about five hours.

Wilson said initially he thinks the fire started by electrical workings in the attic.

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