01/18/2014 – Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, a neighbor reported a fire in a residential structure at 1702 Market St. The first engine company arrived from the fire station four blocks away and reported a working fire with heavy smoke showing.
Neighbors told arriving firefighters that a man lived in the home by himself, but they were not sure if he was home. A search was conducted, during which firefighters located a dog. It was later determined that the resident was not home. Attempts were made by firefighters and St. Joe Ambulance personnel to revive the dog, but they were unsuccessful.
The bulk of the fire damage was located in a living room, but there was extensive smoke damage throughout the home. A firefighter was slightly injured after falling partially through a burnt out hole in the floor. He was evaluated at the scene, but not transported.
“Since there was no one home, the fire was very late being reported. The fire smoldered undetected for a long time and there is a lot of smoke damage to both the contents and the structure,” said Fire Chief Eric Taylor.
Capt. Tim Flinn investigated the fire and it appears to have originated in the basement ceiling area, directly below the living room. The fire damage is estimated at $40,000, but with the historical uniqueness and size of the home, the smoke damage could be into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The home is owned by Dave Chittum. A cause has not been ruled, but the investigators are looking closely at the electrical wiring.
Fire crews remained on scene until 5:00 p.m. with the investigation and watching for hot spots
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