Authorities identify victim in Estherville house fire

Authorities identify victim in Estherville house fire
A home at 1414 N. 6th Street in Estherville, Iowa, was severely damaged by fire Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (Source: Facebook/Estherville Fire Department)

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (KEYC) — Authorities in Estherville have identified the victim of a Jan. 2 house fire.

The Estherville Police Department reported Monday it received a call at approximately 3:52 a.m. on Jan. 2 from a neighbor alerting the authorities that there were flames coming from a house near the caller’s location.

Responding officers arrived at the residence at 1414 N. 6th Street and found the house engulfed in flames and smoke.

The Estherville Fire Department responded to the scene and was able to extinguish the fire, but not before the house was severely damaged by the fire.

During the investigation into the fire, authorities learned the house was most likely occupied when the fire had started and that the homeowners may be inside. A body was later recovered from the home.

Records show that the home was owned and occupied by 69-year-old Paul Ostendorf.

The body was recovered and taken to the Office of the Iowa State Medical Examiner for formal identification and possible cause of death.

New information released Monday confirmed that the victim was positively identified as Ostendorf, whose cause of death has not yet been determined. In addition, the cause of the fire is still unknown. Both investigations remain ongoing.

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