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Wood-burning stove causes house fire in Tioga

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 8:48 PM CST
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TIOGA, Ill. (WGEM) - Firefighters were still trying to knock down a fire at a house in Tioga as of 8:30 p.m. Friday that started around 6 p.m.

Fire officials on scene said a wood-burning stove in the kitchen malfunctioned at 71 N. County Road 830 sending flames back into the house.

Lima-Tioga fire chief Jeff Lomax said it was a pipe failure, which pushed the flames out of the stove and into the house.

He said when temperatures get this low and people turn to devices like wood-burning stoves and space heaters, they will want to make sure it is working perfectly before they start it up.

“The wood stoves have to have good flues on them, the electric space heaters have to be cleaned out,” Lomax said. “Take A Shop-Vac, air hose, anything, get them things cleaned out so that the air can move on them so we don’t overheat stuff.”

Homeowner James Guthrie said, at first, he tried to put out the fire with bottles of water but then quickly realized that wouldn’t work and got out of the home unscathed.

Fire officials said the roof collapsed on to the floor of the attic making fighting the flames, and getting to the core, difficult.

Fire officials said several fire departments responded to the fire including the Lima Tioga Fire Protection District, Lorraine Fire Protection District, West Point Fire Protection District and Warsaw Fire Department.

Guthrie said he does have a place to stay, and thanked his neighbors for their support.

Having lived in Tioga for decades, he said it feels good to have people on his side.

“This is a small community,” Guthrie said. “Everybody knows everybody and everybody is always willing to bend over backwards to help somebody.”

Chief Lomax says freezing temperatures are one of the biggest challenges when it comes to fighting winter fires.

He says in conditions like these firefighters need to be good about changing their gloves and keeping warm And watch out for the ice that forms from the water coming from the hoses.

Fire officials would not say yet if the house is a loss.

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