The Washington Volunteer Fire Company responded to a house fire at 901 Stafford Street around 1:42 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.

The fire originated on the south exterior side of the home, according to Fire Chief Tim Frankenberg.

Frankenberg said the body of the fire was so hot that responders had to take a defensive approach first in order to "knock (the flames) down." Then, they transitioned to an offensive tactic, getting firefighters inside the structure to further quell the flames.

Witnesses at the scene described hearing "a popping noise" and what sounded like "small explosions" while the fire was raging.

"We're not exactly sure (what it was)," said Frankenberg. "It could be a number of things."

An investigation is planned to determine the exact cause of the fire and the popping noise.

One owner, her son and two dogs were home at the time of the fire. There were no reported injuries. The second owner was not home when the fire started.

The home has been included in the National Register of Historic Places, maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, since 2000.

Known as the Henry and Elizabeth Ernst house, the white brick home was constructed around 1873. It was partially destroyed by a fire in 1892, and the rebuilt structure offered a model of early Missouri-German architecture.

According to the home’s application, it "retains a good deal of historic fabric. The original form and patterns of fenestration are largely intact, and from the street, the house appears today much as it did when it was rebuilt in the 1890s."

Assisting the Washington Volunteer Fire Company was the Marthasville Volunteer Fire Department, the Boles Fire Protection District, Washington Police Department and Washington Ambulance District. The Union Fire Protection District did a move up and was on standby at Washington Fire Headquarters, according to Frankenberg.