Plugged chimney blamed for Howard City fire

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 1:27 pm on Tuesday, February 05, 2013

REYNOLDS TOWNSHIP — A plugged up chimney may be to blame for the cause of a house fire that has displaced a Howard City couple from their home.

Firefighters from the Howard City Fire Department responded to a house fire at 22075 W. Cutler Road at 5:07 p.m. on Friday.

Upon arrival, Howard City Fire Chief Randy Heckman said, heavy smoke was coming from the home.

“There was smoke coming from every part of the house,” he said. “Once we got in there, we could see the flames.”

According to Heckman, the fire is believed to have been started from a wood stove in the living room of the two-story home.

Heckman said smoke from the wood stove was delivered through a metal pipe into a chimney, which was blocked due to a lack of cleaning, causing a fire to start.

“It looks like they hadn’t cleaned the chimney part,” he said. “That didn’t allow it to vent properly, likely causing the fire to start.”

Nobody was home when the fire started, but Heckman said Rick and Darlene Wolgamott are now displaced, living in a nearby motel as their home is surveyed for damage.

Heckman said the Wolgamotts’ home was insured.

Heckman doesn’t believe the home was a total loss, as he believes his department did enough to salvage the home outside of the central living room.

“I don’t think it will be a total loss,” he said. “The fire just started to get into the truss system when we got there. There’s smoke and water damage in other areas of the house, but that’s about it. We did save a lot of their stuff and most of the damage is contained mainly in their living room.”

Heckman said about 2,500 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire over a period of approximately 45 minutes.

No one was injured on scene.

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