Monday, June 30, 2014 - 1:55am
City of Madison firefighters battled a house fire late last night on the city’s near east side. Engine Company 3 was dispatched at 11:23 p.m. Sunday for a fire in the 1200 block of Rutledge St.
Occupants of the home reported a loud crack just before a smoke alarm in the kitchen sounded. The homeowners saw light smoke on the first floor of the single-family home. As they opened the basement door, they were met with heavy smoke. They closed the door, called 911 and exited with a pet cat.
When firefighters arrived, the couple was on the front porch and directed crews to a side entrance for easier access into the basement.
When Engine 3 entered the home, they found the basement fully charged with smoke, with heat rolling up the stairs. The thick smoke made it difficult to locate the fire. The use of thermal imagining cameras assisted firefighters in locating the seat of the fire. Basement fires tend to be more dangerous for firefighters because of limited egress.
Engine 3 was assisted by Engine 1 bringing in a second hose line. Due to the building construction type, fire and smoke escaped through spaces in the floor joists, and up through the inside of the home’s walls, requiring additional overhaul. The fire was knocked down at 11:37 p.m.
There were no injuries reported. The initial damage estimate is $40,000. Fire investigators are looking into the possibility that a lightning strike started the fire.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947, firstname.lastname@example.org