Rural Beatrice house fire triggered by battery failure

BEATRICE – Beatrice Rural Firefighters were sent back to the scene of a devastating house fire, Wednesday night. A Gage County Sheriff’s Deputy on scene reported wood located at the fire scene rekindled, sending fire resources back to the home along Lakeview Lane, just before seven p.m.

Beatrice Rural Fire Chief Matt Langley says hotspots in the rubble flared up.  "We took an excavator and tore down all of the walls...and then, kind of in the middle of the house everything fell down. We had some big piles we just could not get to. All of the rubble from the exterior walls kind of fell inward so we had to bring an excavator in to try to pull all of that apart so we could get to those hotspots."

The fire, which broke out at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, destroyed the home and three-stall garage…the property located about a mile south of Beatrice. Langley said the cause, determined through a Nebraska Fire Marshal investigation, was traced to a battery malfunction in the southwest corner of the garage.

"A lithium ion battery...rechargeable battery on a toy of some nature that was plugged in, in the garage...we dug around and found it, and then found that the battery basically malfunctioned or exploded and started the fire. You could see the burn marks in the garage where everything kind of started, and then took off from there."

In addition to the home being a total loss, some vehicles and other contents were lost in the garage. No damage estimate had been released. The rekindled flames were extinguished by 8:30 p.m.