|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
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Local veterinarian awakens in time to discover utility room on fire
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — After a long day caring for animals at his vet clinic, Dr. Milt Thiel got home from work about 9 p.m. had eaten dinner on a tray in his easy chair and dozed off to sleep while watching TV. His wife and grandson had already gone to bed when got up from his recliner shortly after 11 p.m. and decided to head off to bed when he heard something pop. "I decided I better go check on what that noise was and when I got in the kitchen, smoke was coming through the vents in the kitchen so I got everybody outside and called 911," Dr. Thiel said Monday night as he worked to connect a generator to his freezer. "I happened to have a water hose outside so I squirted some water on it until the fire department got here." "The utility room is a mess but everything else is all right except for smoke damage. It will just be another repair project," Thiel said. Fire Chief Corky Cochran credits Thiel being awake and discovering the fire at that crucial moment to preventing a disastrous outcome. "They were fortunate they were still up and detected something was going on," Cochran said. "A little bit later and the fire would have had a good bite and it would have spread to much more of the house and could have put the family in danger. Cochran said firefighters tore out a large part of the wall between the utility room and the garage. The cause of the fire is unknown.