The Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call about a structure fire in the 8,000 block of 50 South shortly after 11 a.m. on Friday.
Washington Township Fire Chief Dave Pearman reported that all seven of the county’s volunteer departments assisted with the incident. Knox-Center Township, Hamlet, Bass Lake and Koontz Lake departments helped on the scene while North Judson Wayne-Township and Rail-Road Township departments helped cover neighboring districts to ensure that no areas were without assistance.
Chief Pearman said that crews utilized positive pressure ventilation to blow smoke out of the house and reported it took approximately one hour to take control of the fire.
“The source was a forced air wood heating unit and what happened was is that it actually had sort of translated into the crawl space so we had to actually breach the floor and then extinguish the fire in the floor.” Pearman went on to say, “Then we found some fire in the wall as well but we were able to save a substantial amount of the house.”
Pearman said that though they were able to save a good portion of the property, there was still some structural, smoke and water damage. No injuries were sustained as result of the fire.
The fire chief explained that he suspects that a chimney fire could have exasperated the situation. He said he believes it caused the wood burning heater to over heat and heat up the ducts subsequently causing a fire under the floor and in the crawlspace.
Fire Chief Pearman said that especially around this time of year, they hear of a fair amount of problems stemming from heating units. He wanted to remind homeowners that it is especially critical to conduct regular chimney maintenance and to keep flammable items away from heat sources.