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why you shouldn't smoke, kiddies:

A discarded cigarette is believed to be the cause of a fire that damaged a rural Albion garage Friday afternoon.
A neighbor passing by reportedly discovered the blaze in a home at 4860 N 150 E just before 1 p.m., according to the Noble County Sheriff's Department. A cigarette apparently set fire to a plastic water softener that was outside near a corner of the two story building, which had been partially converted into apartments. Flames spread up the corner of the building and then up the roof line to the attic peak. The owner, Dave Christlieb, reportedly tried to control the fire with a garden hose, and a short time later Albion firefighters arrived and extinguished fire still burning in the attic area.
The blaze was brought under control in about 20 minutes, but firefighters were on the scene for over an hour, checking for fire extension with a thermal imaging camera and dousing smoldering embers. No injuries were reported; only a dog was inside when the fire broke out, and it escaped safely.
An estimated $5,000 damage was done to the building, mostly to vinyl siding and an area of wall.
Twelve Albion firefighters manning five trucks responded, assisted by the Noble County Sheriff's Department, Albion Police, and Noble County EMS.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 18th, 2006 04:43 am (UTC)
You certainly lead an interesting life in Albion. I do wonder about some of the inhabitants though.

Which reminds me, what happened to the guy who stabbed himself in the eye?

Sep. 18th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, this is the first structure fire we've had in close to a month ... we just had a bad run over the summer. And keep in mine, my fire department covers not only Albion, but a 96 square mile area, so we've got lots of careless people to take care of! The eye thing happened in a neighboring town, Ligonier, so we don't even have to take credit for that one. (Ligonier's in Noble County, so it was part of my full time dispatching job; but not an Albion thing.)

Last I heard, the guy was doing okay, and is probably right back at the bar as we speak. Without getting too detailed, the knife missed his eyeball -- the injury didn't turn out to be nearly as bad as it looked. Fortune favors the foolish.
Sep. 18th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
Have most of the houses in your area had the wooden siding replaced with plastic? Or is this is newer building? It doesn't look like a garage.
Sep. 18th, 2006 12:20 pm (UTC)
Vinyl siding has become popular around here, which is a problem for firefighting because it melts easily, then catches fire. Older houses tend to have wooden or, as in my house, aluminum siding. This place was originally a garage -- the overhead door is to the right -- but the owner is a building contractor who was in the middle of renovating it into two apartments when the fire broke out.
Sep. 18th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC)
And bless his heart he was smoking at the time! I've heard of aluminum (or aluminium as we call it) siding - the vinyl stuff looks fairly lethal - I imagine it gives off some nasty fumes?
Sep. 19th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC)
phosgene, ammonia, carbon, carbon monoxide, sulpher dioxide, chlorine ....
Yes, it does give off toxic fumes -- but so does aluminum, which melts in typical house fire temperatures and can actually burn itself, if heated enough. There are hundreds of toxic gases in a typical house fire, including such fun stuff as the chemicals used by Saddam Hussein to kill Iraqi Kurds. That's why so few people die from the flames themselves.

Um, of course, there are hundreds of toxic fumes in cigarette smoke too, come to think of it ...
Sep. 18th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
Looks like they were lucky to get away with so little danage relatively speaking!
Sep. 19th, 2006 10:37 am (UTC)
Absolutely ... this was about three miles outside of town, so there are response time issues and it's not near any easy water sources. If someone hadn't spotted it, and if the owner hadn't limited the spread a bit with a garden hose (which usually doesn't work).
Sep. 18th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
looks like they were pretty lucky in the damage department.

and that siding makes me want a brick house. *looks at her newly purchased vinyl-sided house*
Sep. 19th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
Luckily it was spotted before things got any more out of hand. Another few minutes and it would have flashed over in the attic, and then the really serious problems would have started.

Still, it wasn't the siding so much as the ignition source. Vinyl's not too bad -- the really bad material is wood shake, which is used for siding but more often for roofing. Using that stuff, especially in areas prone to brush fires, is insanity.

Not that a brick house is such a bad idea, but it's usually the furnishings and personal habits that make for the greatest fire hazard, rather than the building material. (I feel so -- fire prevention-y.)
Sep. 19th, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC)
It looks like there's only one wall standing - is that just the angle of the photo?
Sep. 20th, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)
It's just the angle of the photo. Just around the corner to the right is a walk-in door, which was scorched some -- other than that, almost all the damage is what you see on that side. It's not a great photo, but I didn't get to the camera until fairly late and didn't get a chance to take much of anything except for the investigation pictures.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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