March 7, 2010 Des Moines Register
Fire ravages Glen Oaks home; family narrowly escapes
By TOM WITOSKY firstname.lastname@example.org
A fire destroyed the Glen Oaks home of Gary and Marcia Fletcher on Friday night and nearly claimed the couple as victims.
Gary Fletcher rammed his SUV through the garage door at his 1203 Burr Oaks Drive home to allow the couple and their dogs to escape as flames engulfed the home. He said a power outage in the house made his electronic garage door opener unusable.
"There have been times that I am really glad that my SUV is like a tank," Gary Fletcher said Saturday morning. "This is one of those times again."
Fletcher, a long-time financial advisor in Des Moines, has also been the radio color commentator for broadcasts of the Iowa Barnstormers arena football team.
Fletcher, an all-star football player at the University of Iowa in the 1960s, also played an instrumental role in bringing the Barnstormer franchise back to Des Moines after a six-year hiatus.
"I have to admit that I felt panic like I have never felt it before," Fletcher said.
Fletcher said that he fears he lost a lot of memorabilia from his years as a football player, as well as part-owner and radio broadcaster for the Iowa Barnstormers.
"I know there was a lot of it down in the basement. I am afraid a lot of it is gone," Fletcher said.
West Des Moines fire officials said that the home had flames shooting through the roof when they arrived about six minutes after being dispatched.
Fire officials said that the fire was reported about 11:30 p.m. and that the home - assessed at $432,600 - was destroyed.
Fletcher said that he was sleeping and his wife woke him after she heard smoke detectors in the home.
"I never heard the smoke detectors," Fletcher said. "Thankfully, Marcia did."
An investigation of the cause of the fire is continuing, according to Don Cox, West Des Moines fire chief.