An exterior firebox at the rural residence of Don and Carol Blankenship caused a fire that set the roof and sides of the box on fire along with the house siding inside the box early Wednesday afternoon.
Preston and Township Firefighters responded to the fire and upon arrival found heavy white smoke pouring out of the structure around the firebox. The firebox was half cinder block and half wooden.
The firebox itself was metal and had ductwork that ran through the wall and provided heat for the house.
Firefighters quickly sprayed the firebox exterior with water and dismantled the wooden portion of the firebox for easier access to the fire and to get the burning wood away from the house.
Once the wooden portion of the firebox had been removed firefighters concentrated on getting the burning exterior siding extinguished.
Carol said she smelled smoke in the house and smoke detectors were going off both upstairs and downstairs. She notified Don who went outside and discovered the burning firebox while Carol went downstairs and discovered flames coming in the house around the ductwork.
Carol said she threw buckets of water on the fire and put wet towels on the fire to prevent it from spreading. She also complained of inhaling some smoke but was OK.
The firefighters quickly had the fire out but it took about a half hour to make sure the fire was out. A thermal camera was also used to make sure all the hot spots were extinguished.
The damage to the house was confined just to the siding inside the firebox. Carol and Don were not injured in the fire.
The exact cause of the fire is unknown but it appears the firebox just got too hot and either set the firebox roof or house paneling on fire, said Township 12 Fire Chief Mark McManaman.