A Navy man and his son escaped from their Ogden home as it burned to the ground Thursday morning, said Hal Van Meeteren of the Ogden Fire Department.
Richard Keitz noticed smoke coming from the basement of his single-story home at 780 28th St. He woke his son, and they were able to escape the house with a pet rabbit in tow, said Van Meeteren.
The family had been preparing to move to Virginia, where Keitz will serve as an electrician in the U.S. Navy. Movers had been scheduled to pack up the Keitzes’ belongings on Thursday, but few possessions were salvageable after the fire tore through the home, said Van Meeteren.
Workers from the American Red Cross were on the scene helping arrange temporary housing for the family.
“They were getting in the process of taking off,” said Rich Woodruff of the Red Cross, “so obviously it rocked their world,”
Keitz’s wife and two other children had already left home for the day.
The Ogden Fire Department received the alarm at 8:54 a.m., and the first units arrived on the scene four minutes later to find heavy smoke billowing out of the entire structure.
Twenty firefighters battled the flames for the next half hour. They were able to rescue the family cat from one of the back rooms, but the house itself was rendered uninhabitable. Van Meeteren estimated the house sustained $70,000 in damage.
An Ogden fire marshal was investigating the cause of fire.