Chesterton Tribune



CFD responds to minor house fires on Graham Drive and South 18th Street

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An electrical malfunction is being blamed for an attic fire on Tuesday at 1730 Graham Drive in Westchester Township, the Chesterton Fire Department is reporting.

No one was injured in the fire.

Capt. Rudy Jimenez told the Chesterton Tribune this morning that, at 5:27 p.m., the CFD responded to the residence following a report of smoke coming from the roof. Then, while en route, firefighters were advised that smoke was being observed in the basement of the home.

On their arrival, firefighters made entry through the interior door of an attached garage and found themselves in a first-floor living area, where they detected an odor of smoke but not smoke itself, Jimenez said. A thermal imaging camera, however, quickly revealed hot spots in the attic above, while firefighters noticed paint bubbling on the ceiling dry wall.

Firefighters used a pike pole to pull down segments of the ceiling, which uncovered smoldering insulation and a “small fire” in a wooden truss, Jimenez said. “There wasn’t much flame. It was mostly smolder.”

A 2.5-gallon water can was then used to extinguish the flames.

Investigators subsequently determined the fire to be electrical in origin and traced it to a short in a junction box in the attic. Jimenez noted that the homeowner reported having previously had problems with the box’s power feed. He added that the smoke observed in the basement of the home had probably been circulated there via the air conditioning, which was on at the time of the fire.

Jimenez estimated damage to the structure at $10,000, saying the truss would need to be replaced; and that to contents at $5,000.

Also responding to the scene under automatic aid agreements were the Porter, Liberty Township, and Beverly Shores FDs as well as the Porter County Sheriff’s Police and Porter Regional Hospital EMS.

The CFD cleared the scene at 7:30 p.m.

A Second Fire

One hour later, at 8:28 p.m., the CFD was dispatched to a second residential fire, this one at 308 S. 18th St., after a neighbor reported seeing flames on the side of the house and thought them to be a brush fire.

On their arrival, Jimenez said, firefighters discovered that the side of the home had actually ignited, although the homeowner had quickly managed to smother the fire with an ABC dry-chemical extinguisher.

Firefighters used the thermal camera to check for extension and found none, Jimenez said. Cause of the fire: “some sort of electrical short” in the central air-conditioning unit.

Jimenez estimated damage at $1,000, the probable cost of repairing the A/C unit, and noted that there was no damage to the siding of the home.

The CFD cleared the scene at 8:51 p.m.



Posted 5/30/2018




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