2010 Feb. 12: PA Somerset County: Wood Burner May Have Sparked Somerset County House Fire

2010 Feb. 12: PA Somerset County: Wood Burner May Have Sparked Somerset County House Fire

Posted: 9:25 am EST February 11, 2010Updated: 5:08 pm EST February 11, 2010
A Somerset County home was destroyed by fire early Thursday and fire officials are urging people to test their smoke detectors.

The fire broke out just after 6 a.m. on Meyers Lane just outside Rockwood. One woman was home at the time and was awakened by her cats. The woman made it out safely, but crews had difficulty reaching the scene because of high snow.

Fire officials said they think the blaze started in the area of the wood burner or the chimney. Because of snow and frigid temperatures, many furnaces and other home heating sources are working overtime.

Rockwood Fire Chief Jim Miller said, "Everybody’s pushing their furnace to the limit. … It’s a bad situation. I know some mobile homes in the area had to get up on their roofs and shovel away from their chimneys and rooftop vents so their furnaces would work. It’s a scary situation."

Crews were able to save a neighboring business that had been remodeled just before Christmas, but some pets died in the blaze.

He said people should also make sure the batteries in their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are fully charged.

Matt Smith, owner of Smith Heating & Plumbing, said the main thing is to keep outside vents clear.

"Once the chimney pipe is plugged up (it can put) carbon monoxide into the house," Smith said.

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