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An early afternoon house fire spared a family of eight, their goats and family pets, but destroyed their home.

Maxwell, Brady and North Platte fire departments all responded to the fire Wednesday, believed to have started in the basement but still under investigation, said Maxwell Volunteer Fire Chief Jim Falcon.

Falcon said the house was a two-story house with a half-basement. After four hours of firefighting, all that remained was the frame and a nearby windmill.

The blaze overtook a backyard propane tank in its path. Firefighters stayed near the tank, spraying water.

“All we could do was keep water on it and keep it cool so it wouldn’t explode,” Falcon said.

The method worked.

“It was a scary moment there,” he said.

The fire had also taken a nearby shed in its path, but the property’s farming and haying business were still operable, Falcon said.

Falcon said the home was occupied by a man, woman and their six children. An older woman said she lived there more than 50 years with her husband, and the couple’s grandchildren lived there now. One current resident was at a loss for words.

Throughout the afternoon, a dark cloud of smoke billowed toward the back yard and a trampoline. Family members and friends embraced and cried as they watched the house burn down.

After the flames were contained and smoke settled, they all gathered around the remains of the home.

The First Church of God in North Platte already offered to donate a weeklong hotel stay to the family until other arrangements were made. Donation sites were already being discussed by area businesses.

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