Crews from the St. Joseph Fire Department say the call came in around 7:30 a.m., and upon arrival heavy smoke was billowing out of the house on N. Noyes Boulevard.
The homeowner is Judi Flesher, widow of Frank Flesher, the founder of the National Military Heritage Museum in St. Joseph.
Mrs. Flesher was the director of the Open Door Food Kitchen for nine years; she retired from that position in the Spring of 2013.
Flesher was safely taken to a neighbor's house while crews worked to contain the fire. The house suffered quite a bit of damage on the inside, but is otherwise structurally sound.
A spokesman for the fire department said with work the house can still be salvaged, although most of the furniture is destroyed.
Traffic was blocked near the home while firefighters worked because students were still arriving to school at the nearby Bode Middle School.
Firefighters say a cat was taken out of the house, given oxygen, and will be taken to a vet.
A cause for the fire has not yet been determined, but firefighters did say that when Flesher called 911, she reported that she thought the cause was electrical.