MT. IDAHO – Substantial damage resulted from a chimney fire that spread through a portion of a Mt. Idaho home last week.
No injuries were reported in the Tuesday, Dec. 3, incident, reported around 11:15 a.m. at 25 Mt. Idaho Road, according to Chief Bob Mager, Grangeville Rural Fire Department (GRFD). The American Red Cross is currently assisting renter Ken Huntley whose family was left temporarily homeless. The residence is owned by Tim Kaschmitter.
“Chimney integrity broke down,” Mager said, resulting in the fire moving into the ceiling of the single-story home, dating from 1906, and subsequently into the adjacent walls.
“It spread out like an ink blot,” he said.
In tracking down the blaze, firefighters had to tear into the ceiling and walls, while also keeping up supports for the chimney and rafters intact, according to Mager. Crews were able to control the fire and cleared the scene around 12:05 p.m.
Structure damage was due to fire, water, and firefighting activities. Some of this could have been lessened, Mager said, if firefighters had been called earlier.
“They tried to fight the fire, until they realized it was bigger than they could handle,” he said.
“If you’ve got a fire, call us,” he continued. “That’s what the fire department is for. Don’t try to fight it yourself.”
GRFD responded with one engine, two attack trucks and 10 personnel. They were assisted on scene by Avista and the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office.