No injuries reported in Niles house fire

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022

NILES — No one was injured in a structure fire in the city of Niles Wednesday night, according to the Niles Fire Department.

The NFD was dispatched to a structure fire across the street from Niles Harding’s on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Fire crews worked quickly to enter the building and extinguish the fire. An investigation confirmed the origin of the fire to be a crack in both the back of the fireplace and part of the chimney in the home. Niles Fire Marshal Rory Iwaniuk said that damage to the home was minimal.

“A hot ember probably got in the crack and sat for a while before it got going,” he said.

According to Iwaniuk, the onset of cold weather has prompted area families to turn to their fireplaces for warmth.

“Surrounding areas have had chimney fires the past week or so,” he said. “Families are lighting fires to warm up the house a bit more to help with the gas bill. This was an older house with an older fireplace.”

The NFD has been busy in recent months. According to Iwaniuk, the department has responded to seven fires since Dec. 23. Iwaniuk said that the number of fires in the city has decreased since the department started its rental inspection program.

“Ever since we started that, our fires have dropped tremendously in the last 30 years or so,” he said.

Iwaniuk said that smoke detectors alerted the family to the fire and allowed them to evacuate safely. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. More than one-third of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present, and the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

Smoke detectors should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture and tested once per month. Iwaniuk said the city offers a smoke detector program where firefighters will install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in homes free of charge. Readers can call (269) 683-2374 for questions or scheduling.