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Pamelia house destroyed by blaze; wood stove is probable culprit

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A blaze that could have been caused by an overheated wood stove destroyed a house Saturday at 22975 Knowlesville Road, town of Pamelia.

The house was unoccupied when the fire was reported about 5:20 p.m., and there were no injuries. The fire, which quickly reached the metal roof, wasn’t contained by firefighters until about 6:50 p.m. Jefferson County fire investigators said an investigation into the cause is ongoing.

Louis George, a tenant living at an apartment in the house, left about two hours before the blaze was reported, according to his sister-in-law, Lori J. George. Mr. George told firefighters there was a fire in the wood stove when he left.

Firefighters saved some belongings of Mr. George, who did not have renter’s insurance. Homeowner Daniel J. Kampnich was not at the scene.

Brian G. Kampnich, brother of the homeowner, said the fire likely originated in the wood stove. He said smoke was seen leaving the chimney above the stove before it spread to the roof. “That’s where the flames were coming out,” he said.

Though an official cause was not determined, Pamelia Fire Chief Harry E. Faulk Jr., who was the first to arrive at the scene, said the wood stove likely was involved.

Jefferson County Deputy Fire Coordinator David P. Gosier said the fire likely spread to the rear of the building within minutes after it started. It was challenging for firefighters to put out, he said, because the fire was trapped between the metal roof and a secondary roof under it. Firefighters cut several holes in the roof with chain saws, while others equipped with masks and air tanks fought the blaze from the ground.

In total, about 40 volunteers from eight departments were involved in the effort.

“They pulled down the ceiling and walls to find the fire extension,” Mr. Gosier said. “Metal roofs will hold all of the heat from the floor inside, and they had to find a few hot spots.”

Fire departments that responded were Northpole, Pamelia, Glen Park, Brownville, Evans Mills, Calcium, Plessis and West Carthage.

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