Watchful neighbors save the day


CLEAR LAKE, IA – Not many people enjoy a wake up call at 1:30 AM but it was either that or a fire taking over the Welty’s house in Clear Lake Saturday morning.

It’s a good thing Jake Whitehurst’s dad is a light sleeper. He was up that morning when he looked up at their neighbors house and saw a funny light. That’s when he realized their garage was on fire and woke his son Jake. Jake called 911 and rushed up to the Welty residence.

“I walked up there and looked it all over and was looking to see if anything like besides the garage is on fire. I moved the one ranger and then I went to the house to see if the keys were in their vehicles and then I knocked on the door and they finally came around,” says Whitehurst.

“We were sleeping and Jake come wrapping, knocking on the door and hollering at me and I said what do you want? He said your garage is on fire!” commented Donald Welty.

By that point, Whitehurst says, the fire was out of control.  At 20 years old, he is a member of the Ventura Fire Department.

After waking the couple and getting the cars out of harms way, he went to grab his fire gear. When he returned, crews had the fire under control; thankfully, with little to no harm on the house just feet away.

“It would’ve been an awful lot worse if somebody hadn’t come around,” says Welty.

There was ammo in the garage as well as propane and CO 2 tanks. Welty is right, this situation could have been much worse.

“Lucky my dad saw it and I went up there and told them and got everything moved,” said Jake.

The Clear LakeFire Department tells us that if the fire went unnoticed for 5 more minutes, their house would have been largely impacted.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, the Clear Lake Fire department says it could have been due to sparks from a corn burning stove Welty uses to reload his ammo.

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