Furnace malfunction cause of house fire in Wakarusa

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(Photo supplied/Flickr Creative Commons)

A furnace malfunction is believed to be the cause of a house fire in Wakarusa.

Crews from several departments were called to the home, around 10 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 14, in the 200 block of Elkhart Street, to find thick black smoke and flames.

The fire was so intense, it turned a hole through the ceiling and the first floor.

The owner wasn’t home at the time, but told crews they had turned on the 30-year-old furnace for the first time before leaving.

There were no smoke detectors in the house.

The following information about the fire was sent to 95.3 MNC from the Wakarusa Volunteer Fire Department:

The Wakarusa Volunteer Fire Department along with Baugo and Harrison Fire Departments were dispatched to a structure fire in the 200 block of Elkhart Street on Monday, Oct. 14.

On arrival they found heavy smoke coming from the house. Upon making entry through the front door they encountered high heat and heavy black smoke with flames in the center of the first floor of the house.

The flames were quickly extinguished and the house ventilated.

Overhaul was performed noting a large hole burned through the ceiling and flooring of the dining room.

There was no one home at the time of the fire and no smoke detectors were found in the home.

The homeowners came home soon after the fire was extinguished.

The investigation as to the cause and origin revealed that the occupant had turned on the furnace for the first time since spring and then left the home.

The fire started in the laundry room that contained the 30+ year old gas forced air furnace that seem to malfunction and cause fire to be forced upward into the floor joist spaces by the furnace blower fan causing fire to be pushed through the heat registers throughout the house.

The area of origin was the furnace closet and the cause was the furnace. 

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