News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 14, 2013

Morning Terre Haute house fire blamed on chimney

Single occupant gets out safely

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A chimney fire is being cited as the cause of a fire Wednesday morning at a home in the 1600 block of Spruce Street in Terre Haute.

“It was a chimney fire that spread to the attic,” said Battalion Chief Ron Steiner of the Terre Haute Fire Department.

The home was occupied by one man, who safely left the home, Steiner said.

Firefighters were dispatched at 12:10 a.m. and were on the scene until 1:27 a.m. Fire damage is estimated at $5,000 to $8,000, primarily in the home’s living room area, said Fire Chief Jeff Fisher.

The home’s occupant, Fisher said, was remodeling the house and “had put some wood in the fireplace and had a large fire. It somehow caught the rafters in the attic on fire,” Fisher said.

Steiner said it is important for homeowners to have their fireplace chimneys inspected annually. “The chimney probably has some cracks in it or the liner and probably spread into the attic spaces from there. A chimney should be inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep or cleaner,” he said.

As cold weather hits, Steiner said homeowners should also be careful with the use of electric space heaters. The heaters should not be placed near curtains or other items that can catch fire or in areas in which the heater would be susceptible to being knocked over. Also, heaters should not be placed on extension cords rated below the electrical capacity of the heater.

The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter will provide assistance to the fire victim. “We are responding to that. We possibly will do housing, food and clothing,” said Janice Hawkins, interim disaster service coordinator for the Red Cross.