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Snow-covered home burns to foundation overnight

A rural house with more than a foot of snow on the roof burned to the foundation overnight off Dead Indian Memorial Road east of Ashland.

Homeowners Mark and Abby Buktenica arrived at their home at 11600 Dead Indian Memorial Road late Thursday to find it on fire, said Darin Welburn, division chief for Fire District 5.

Mark Buktenica kicked in a sliding glass door to get the couple's pets out, and then the couple retreated down their quarter-mile snow-covered driveway, to a point where they could use a cell phone to call 9-1-1, Welburn said.

The first fire engine to respond to the 11:40 p.m. call, an all-wheel-drive truck, headed up the driveway and lost traction. Some firefighters stopped to put chains on the vehicle, Welburn said, while others hiked to the house.

The 14 to 16 inches of snow covering the home's roof slowed the blaze's progress, but the house was destroyed by the time crews reached it, the division chief said.

Firefighters salvaged a van near the house by pushing it into a snowbank after realizing the Buktenicas had taken the battery out of it in the cold. The blaze consumed a snowplow tractor parked near the garage.

Several feet of snow is on the ground in the area of the fire. Welburn said snow on roads and driveways can make homes inaccessible for crews despite homeowners' efforts to prepare.

— Staff reports