Fire causes 'moderate' damage

A structure fire Sunday night caused moderate damage to a rural home after a chimney pipe failed and ignited wood in the home's attic.

No one was injured, and the structure of the home remains intact, according to Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Roy Mason.

The home is on County Road 30, about 3 miles off Highway 40 west of Craig. It belongs to Bruce McAlexander. The McAlexanders planned to stay with friends Sunday night, Mason said.

The home's roof and the attic sustained fire damage, and drywall in the house's ceiling was damaged by water from fire hoses. The water damage might have been more extensive, Mason said, had firefighters not made a conscious effort to use minimal water.

"We could have filled the attic full of water and lost the ceiling in the house," Mason said. But firefighters put out the fire with only short bursts from the hoses.

Dispatchers paged Craig Fire/Rescue to the fire at about 10:30 p.m. The original call reported flames coming out of the roof, Mason said.

The fire department sent three engines and one tanker to the location, along with about 20 firefighters, Mason said.

"When it was paged we had flames coming out of the roof so we thought, 'here we go,'" Mason said.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they saw smoke but no fire, Mason said. Firefighters cut a hole in the roof to allow the smoke to vent and to search for "extensions" of the fire in the attic.

Mason said a "triple-wall chimney pipe" burned through into the attic. It caused a fire in the wooden trusses in the attic. The pipe was connected to a coal stove. Firefighters emptied the stove and disconnected it from the chimney.

The house has another source of heat, and power to the home was not shut off, Mason said.

The fire department spent two hours mopping up the fire. "Everything was put out with minimal damage," Mason said.

The cold weather caused minor complications.

"You can imagine at 10 below zero and working with water the firefighters get kind of cold," Mason said.

Also, threat of frozen hoses and pumps required extra vigilance.

"We had to keep one guy on the truck to monitor the water," Mason said.

Also crews slightly opened the valves on the hoses to allow a small amount of water to flow and retard freezing.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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