MOUNT CARMEL — If a Mount Carmel couple had called the fire department Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m. when an electrical fire started in their attic they’d be sleeping in their own beds tonight, according to fire officials.
Instead the lady of the house stayed up all night attempting to extinguish the fire as it reappeared over and over again. By the time firefighters were called Wednesday morning, a substantial portion of the attic above the kitchen had already been damaged by fire.
“It was an electrical fire that they were trying to put out with a water hose, but it kept coming back,” Mount Carmel Fire Chief Chris Jones said. “They thought it was out, and the girlfriend stayed up all night to keep an eye on it and kept having to put water on it because it kept coming back. Finally they called us in at 7:30 a.m. this morning, and when we got there she said she was just too tired to watch it any longer and asked us to check it out.
“When we opened the attic, we had fire. We found 25 percent of the attic was still involved in fire and several rafters that were actually burned in two and were on fire.”
The fire occurred at 323 Independence Ave., the residence of Andria Inman, Russell Jeter and three children ages 9, 13 and 16.
Firefighters had to pull down the kitchen ceiling and insulation to extinguish the fire. Jones said the house will not be habitable again until electrical repairs are made by an electrician.
“We did determine that the fire started as a wiring problem inside the attic,” Jones said. “If you’ve got a fire in your house, you need to call the fire department immediately. If they’d called us last (Tuesday) night we would only have had to tear out a small section of the ceiling.
“This morning we basically had to take a 25-by-30-foot room and tear down the whole ceiling where the fire had spread through the insulation.”
The Red Cross responded to the scene and is assisting the family with lodging and other necessities.