Failed Gutter-Heating System Causes House Fire

At about 8:12 pm on Saturday, March 29, about 25 volunteer firefighters responded to an automatic alarm from a home at 54 Mt Pleasant Road where a system used to electrically heat drainage gutters failed, causing a house fire, officials said.

Fire officials described damage to the house as moderate to significant. A damage estimate was not available. There were no injuries.

Two women were home at the time of the fire at the Laurans residence, which lies just west of Mt Pleasant Road’s intersection with Diamond Drive.

Hook & Ladder, Hawleyville, Sandy Hook, and Dodgingtown firefighters responded to the scene. Botsford firefighters stood by at their firehouse.

Fire Marshal Bill Halstead said that an electrically powered system, which is used to heat drainage gutters on the house, apparently failed, resulting in the accidental blaze. The fire occurred at the rear section of the house, he said.

Besides the automatic alarm, a resident of the house placed a 911 call to report the fire, he said.

The fire caused damage to the house’s roof, ceilings, and walls, he said. The damage was moderate and apparently not structural, he said.

A fire damage repair firm went to the house after the fire. The two residents were able to stay at the house following the fire, Mr Halstead said.

Hook & Ladder Fire Chief Ray Corbo, who was incident commander, said that initial reports indicated there was smoke in the house’s basement, after which fire was spotted burning at the roof.

The fire entered some internal spaces in the structure, requiring firefighters to physically open up roof sections to ensure that the fire was put out, he said.

Although firefighters had access to a fire hydrant in the area, they were able to extinguish the fire with the water carried on fire vehicle, he said. Less than 500 gallons of water was required, he said.

The particular structure of the house posed some difficult fire-access issues, he said. Chief Corbo termed damage as “significant.”

Firefighters spent about two hours at the scene.

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