Stove, chimney flames quickly extinguished but unscore cold-weather concerns
Frigid temperatures had area residents scrambling to stay warm last week, and may have contributed to fires that damaged two houses in the Town of Grafton.
The Grafton Fire Department responded to a pair of blazes during a four-hour period Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Firefighters were first called to a house at 292 N. Port Washington Rd. at 4:45 p.m. after several callers said they saw heavy black smoke coming from the building.
Fire Chief William Rice said Grafton police arrived at the scene first and discovered that no one was home. After making his way into the building, a police officer noticed that the fire was coming from a malfunctioning pellet-burning stove.
Although firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze with little problem, the outside of the building was another matter.
“The interior wasn’t damaged, but the west side of the building was heavily stained by smoke,” he said.
The owners returned home after being contacted and were not displaced by the fire, Rice said.
The Cedarburg Fire Department provided assistance at the scene.
At 8:20 p.m. the same day, Grafton firefighters were called to a house at 760 Green Bay Rd. by a resident who discovered a chimney fire.
Rice said the resident told firefighters he heard a loud, roaring noise in a fireplace and saw flames coming from a stack on the two-story building.
Firefighters were able to quickly control the blaze, which caused minimal damage. However, crews remained on the scene to check the chimney, roof and fireplace, Rice said.
Residents were allowed to stay in the home.
The Port Washington and Mequon fire departments provided assistance
In both incidents, Rice said, the homeowners were fortunate that the damage was minimal and no one was injured. However, he cautioned that residents should be extra careful heating their homes and make sure fireplaces, chimneys, stoves and furnaces are in good working order and monitored closely when used.
“That’s especially true in the winter,” Rice said.
Rice noted that cold weather often presents access problems for firefighters and other emergency crews responding to areas covered with snow and ice.
“Access was not a big problem in these situations, but it can be when emergency vehicles have to travel on roads in rural areas,” he said.