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Blaze erupts in home

Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune

Ashes from the interior of this landmark house at the corner of North Schnoor Street and West Park Drive lay on the front lawn Wednesday morning in the aftermath of an electrically caused fire that burned the insides of the house and caused heavy smoke damage. The occupants got out safely, however, with their pets, and were uninjured. The owner said that it could take as long as eight months to repair the damage. He also praised the way the fire and police departments responded, “quickly and professionally,” once the alarm had been turned in.


An electrical fire that started in the attic is suspected as the cause of a blaze that severely damaged a landmark house at the corner of North Schnoor Street and West Park Drive early Wednesday.

The two residents and their pets escaped, and no injuries were reported.

Heavy smoke was spotted pouring from the attic vents by a passerby about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

FIVE FIRE ENGINES responded to the fire, according to CalFire Captain Jeff Biesenthal of Madera Fire Station 7.

“The fire was contained to the attic and section above the kitchen,” Biesenthal said. “There was heavy smoke on our arrival and significant smoke and water damage. The residents got out, thanks to smoke alarms but were displaced,” Biesenthal said.

Firefighters say attic electrical fires can smolder or burn unnoticed for hours because the smoke produced is above the ceilings and the locations of most smoke detectors. Placing an additional smoke detector inside an attic space, they say, can provide early and valuable warning time in the case of attic fires.

THE HOUSE, built in the 1960s, sustained major damage. The cause remains under investigation.

North Schnoor Street was closed for several hours as fire crews worked to stop the fire from spreading, remove debris and check for hot spots.


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