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Helvetia house fire causes $10,000 in damage


by: COURTESY PHOTO - A chimney fire damaged this Helvetia home Wednesday night. An early morning fire Thursday forced an elderly Helvetia man and his tenant into the cold. The fire was reported to 911 dispatchers just before 5 a.m.

Firefighters from Washington County Fire District 2 and Hillsboro Fire Department arrived at 10308 N.W. Helvetia Road to find light smoke inside the home and fire inside a wall of a tri-level wood frame home. The owner was refusing to leave. Firefighters convinced the owner to wait outside in his vehicle while they fought the fire. They ripped open sheet rock and found fire in the spaces surrounding the wood stove flue.

Fire investigators believed there had been long-term pyrolysis -- or charring of the wood framing --surrounding the flue. A hot fire in the wood stove apparently produced enough heat for the framing to catch fire. Firefighters estimate the damages at about $10,000. The occupants will be able to remain in the home.

Washington County Fire District 2 urge citizens to build moderate fires in fireplaces and woodstoves, burn only seasoned wood, and have the flue cleaned and inspected annually.