Mahaska County Fire Claims Man’s Life

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TAINTOR, Iowa – Investigators are working to determine the cause of a massive house fire that claimed the life of a man in the small town of Taintor Thursday night.

“We knew we had one person inside and one person who had gotten out and the home was fully engulfed. We knew that before we left the station. When we were three miles out we could see a lot of fire already,” said New Sharon Fire Chief, Steve Gerard.

A friend at the scene of the fire identified the victim as 56 year old Emery Black.

Authorities say Black and his live-in girlfriend were inside the home when the fire began shortly before 7 PM Thursday night. Investigators believe the fire started in the walls of the kitchen. Black’s girlfriend got out, but Black did not as he stayed inside attempting to find the origin of the fire. His body was recovered early Friday morning.

Taintor is a town of less than 100 people in Mahaska County between Grinnell and Oskaloosa. It took fire fighters from several departments to bring in water tankers as the nearest fire hydrant was seven miles away. Fire fighters also battled temperatures below 20 degrees, forcing them to work in shifts to put out the flames.

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