house fire

Athens Fire Marshal Ronnie Denton has determined that a blaze that gutted a frame house on East Corsicana Street on Saturday was accidental and its origin was electrical.

“We were really happy that no one was injured. “There were three people upstairs, and I believe there were thee downstairs. But everyone got out.”

The house,which dated back more than a century, was a total loss. The structure was one and a half stories.

Shortly after 2:30 a.m., a woman told a dispatcher that the house next to her in the 800 block was on fire. Her husband went next door to wake the neighbors.

“It began on the back porch,” Denton said. “There was kind of a closed, screened in porch in the back. We're pretty confident that it's in the area where the washer and dryer are located.”

The fire was probably not caused by the washer or dryer units, Denton said.

But “I would like people to be very careful in these older homes, especially with space heaters in these colder months.”

Those who plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating should have the chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask local fire departments to recommend an inspector, or find one in a  telephone directory under “chimney cleaning.”

Smoke detectors should be installed and battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near the area to be heated. They should be tested monthly. Denton said the batteries should be replaced twice a year.