Fireplace embers blamed for Odessa house fire

ODESSA — Embers from a fireplace ignited a fire at a home in the unit block of Canary Court in the Augustine Creek neighborhood Saturday evening.

The fire was reported around 5:30 p.m. Saturday after flames were seen engulfing the exterior siding of the home, said Michael G. Chionchio, assistant state fire marshal.

The family, who was home at the time, were unharmed, Mr. Chionchio said.

Firefighters from the Odessa Fire Company responded, and contained and extinguished the fire without any injuries, Mr. Chionchio said.

Deputy fire marshals investigated the fire and found that it originated from embers in the fireplace that escaped from the chimney, igniting the structural wood framing that surrounded the fireplace, Mr. Chionchio said It was declared an accident.

Damage was estimated at $10,000, Mr. Chionchio said.

“Homeowners are encouraged to have their fireplace, wood stove, and/or chimney inspected by a professional at least once a year and preferably at the beginning of the cold season,” Mr. Chionchio said in a prepared statement. “Preventive maintenance and proper usage will drastically reduce the chance of an unfriendly fire.”

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