Improperly installed woodstove ignites home

November 04, 2003 11:00 pm
Andy Garcia tears into the siding of a home that caught on fire from an improperly installed woodstove. He and firefighter Ryan Wakefield, background, were trying to expose the ignited wall from the exterior of the home. Both men belong to the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department. (Jennifer Henion).
Andy Garcia tears into the siding of a home that caught on fire from an improperly installed woodstove. He and firefighter Ryan Wakefield, background, were trying to expose the ignited wall from the exterior of the home. Both men belong to the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department. (Jennifer Henion).

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

An improperly installed wood stove was the cause of a Crescent City house fire yesterday.

Five fire engines arrived at 250 Sixth Street at about 11 a.m. Tuesday to extinguish flames burning inside the east wall of the home.

Ron Johnson, who rents the home, said the new wood stove was installed Monday to replace a broken pellet-burning stove.

"Should have just gotten the pellet stove fixed," he said.

No one was injured in the fire.

Johnson kept positive thoughts about the uncertain future of his home while standing in the cold rain watching firefighters tear into the wall from the outside.

"I have renter's insurance. I got my daughter out – everything else is replaceable," he said.

Johnson installed the stove himself, according to Crescent City Fire Chief Steve Wakefield.

"They ran the stove pipe right through the wall and into the chimney, which is on the outside of the house," said Wakefield.

He said the hot metal pipe ignited wood and paper inside the wall of the home, which was built in the early 1900s.

Crews from the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department and Crescent Fire Protection District attacked the fire in the wall from both inside and outside the house.

Two firefighters hurriedly pulled wood siding off the outside of the house with an ax and chainsaw while another crew member sprayed the exposed flames with water.

The crew inside the house also tore into the wall and used a small remote heat-sensing camera to find fire inside the wall.

"It's a thermal-imaging camera. We were able to use it to show where the fire was traveling through the wall," Wakefield said.

Yesterday was the first time the city fire department had used the new camera.

Wakefield said every fire department in the county received a thermal-imaging camera paid for by a federal weapons of mass destruction grant.