A room heater is blamed for a Tuesday morning fire that forced a Nebraska City family to evacuate.
Derek Vesely, 29, had just settled down with two of his children to watch a movie when he smelled smoke.
He dialed 911 and gathered his seven-month-old Hunter and his son Isaiah.
Firefighters arriving at 1319 S. Eighth St. could not see smoke upon arrival, but an interior team encountered dense smoke in an upstairs bedroom.
Fire Chief Alan Viox said the tight space of the upstairs room help subdue the fire, but it had spread to the carpeting, some clothes and a mattress.
He said it is unclear whether something was put on top of the heater, but the heater was found on its side with burned material on it.
Firefighters and Nebraska City EMS provided blankets for the children, who were soon united with their mother, Sara, who had been at work. Vesely first saw smoke when firefighters broke out upstairs windows.
The family dog, Rex, left the house with the family, but the cat Dori was not seen until firefighters brought her out and handed her to Sara.
Sara said the cat likes to rest in the upstairs window sill in the mornings, so she was worried that she had been lost.
A hose line from the pumper truck provided water protection for the interior team, but there was a complication in hooking up to a fire hydrant. The nearest hydrant was up a steep slope more than a city block away
Firefighter Steve Recker sat in the open hatch of an Otoe County Sheriff's Office vehicle while Deputy Mike Riege drove up the hill. Recker and other firefighters pulled the five-inch hose up until it became too heavy. He was then re-situated in the prisoner cage of the vehicle to provide leverage needed to pull the hose up the hill.
Viox said tanker trucks had been dispatched to bring water, but a fire hydrant is preferred. He said not much water was used against the fire, but it is always better to have more water available.
He noted that there smoke detectors in the house. He said they might've sounded an alarm, but he did not hear them while in the house.
"It is important for people to have working smoke detectors in every place that is a sleeping area," Viox said.