GOSHEN — Firefighters from five different township fire departments battled a house fire northeast of Goshen on Friday, Nov. 22.
Nobody was injured in the fire at 18280 Buckridge Court in the Buttonbush subdivision off C.R. 28.
An Elkhart County dispatcher said the call came in at 6:18 p.m. and the Elkhart Township Fire Department arrived on scene five minutes later. Jefferson, Harrison, Concord and Clinton township fire departments were called in to help battle the fire.
Roelf Kuitse stood wrapped in a purple fleece blanket in his yard and watched the crews fight the fire consuming the home he said was “everything I'd ever wanted in a house.”
Kuitse said he arrived home around 6 p.m. and could not open the garage door with his remote. He didn't think anything of it and opened the door with a key, he said.
When he opened the door from the breezeway into the house, he felt a rush of heat and heavy smoke pour out of the door, he said.
Kuitse, who lived alone in the home he built in 2004, called 911 as he rushed around the back of the house to shut off the gas line.
A neighbor said no smoke or fire was visible when firefighters arrived but that flames began shooting through the roof at approximately 7 p.m., after firefighters opened the home's doors to access the fire.
The flames shot 30 feet into the air, accompanied by a plume of heavy smoke, and were visible from C.R. 28 through the trees.
“That's my walnut desk,” Kuitse said as orange flames moved to a room at the front of the house. “It's in the library there and that's irreplaceable. There are things from our travels — years and years of memories.”
By 9 p.m., flames were no longer visible through the roof but firefighters continued to work to extinguish the fire. The commander at the scene told dispatchers the fire was under control at 10:19 p.m.
A firefighter told Kuitse they were not sure of the cause of the fire, but that it may have started near the electrical box in the basement.
Kuitse said several neighbors had offered him a place to stay Friday night and that his home was insured.
An Elkhart County dispatcher confirmed the fire rekindled around 7 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, and it was extinguished around 12:30 p.m.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this story incorrectly listed the house address as being off of C.R. 23. The story has been updated and is now correct.