Fire restricted to kitchen

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

HUMBOLDT — When Juanita Morton awoke early Tuesday morning, her electricity was off and there was a strange smell in her home at 203 N. Sixth St.
“I got a flashlight and started looking around,” Morton told the Register this morning. “I kept looking but couldn’t find anything. The electricity was on in a part of the house that used to be a beauty shop, but it was off everywhere else. And I kept smelling something.
“About 5 o’clock our Boston terrier woke up my husband. He asked if I’d checked the fuses. I hadn’t,” she said.
When Scott Morton looked into the attic to check the fuses he was met by a cloud of smoke. An apparent wiring problem had short-circuited fuses and when the attic door was opened, flames broke out.
Humboldt volunteer firefighters arrived minutes later and restricted fire damage to kitchen and attic.
“There also was a lot of water damage to the bathroom ceiling,” Juanita Morton said, “but the rest of the house is okay. We didn’t even have any smoke damage to speak of.”
The Mortons, including daughter Audrey, a senior at Humboldt High School, were not injured and spent Tuesday through Thursday nights at a motel, courtesy of the American Red Cross. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church offered to help with a couple more nights of lodging. Further assistance with a place to stay will come from family, she said.
“We hope our kitchen appliances will be okay once we get the electric back on,” said Morton, who plans for rewiring to be done this weekend.
“We were lucky none of us was hurt and the house wasn’t damaged any more than it was,” she said. “We didn’t have insurance on the house. We’ve gotten a lot of help from family and friends and the volunteer firemen did a great job of getting the fire out quickly and keeping it from spreading.”
Scott Morton is an oil field worker temporarily idled without compensation by the siege of cold weather. Juantita Morton has worked as a care provider and now is drawing unemployment. They may be reached 473-0495.