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house heavily damaged by fire

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 14:55 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

People are advised to have their stove pipes swept following a second recent house fire in LaPorte County linked to a wood burner.

A house in the 500 block of N. Shebel Road five miles north of Westville suffered extensive damage Tuesday night.

A man and woman hearing flames burning inside one of the walls got out safely, said Coolspring Township Fire Chief Mick Pawlik.

Pawlik said the cause is still under investigation but it appears the inside of a flue on a wood burning stove in the basement caught fire then set the house ablaze.

''People they're using wood burners which is good but you got to maintain the chimneys,'' said Pawlik.

He said it was a difficult fire to extinguish because of hard to reach flames between many of the false ceilings and floors created from what he described as an old farm house being added onto over the years.

''It was like a house built around a house,'' Pawlik said.

It took about three hours with help by firefighters from Westville to completely douse the flames.

The inside of a stove pipe while burners are in use are susceptible to catching fire if if there's heavy creosote build up on the inside walls of a flue.

Creosote is a flammable charcoal like soot produced from burning wood and should be swept off the walls of a stove pipe before every heating season then again during periods of heavy use, said LaPorte County Police fire investigator Mike Raymer.

''You got to make sure everything is clean,'' said Raymer.

Raymer said a stove pipe on a wood burner inside an attached garage is also suspected to have started a fire early Saturday on U.S 20 west of Springville.

The garage and breezeway were heavily damaged.

According to police, a man and woman along with their children escaped unharmed but smoke filtering into the residence claimed the lives of a german short haired pointer and her five puppies.