Fire damages historic Ketchikan home

Posted: Friday, March 29, 2002

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- One of Ketchikan's oldest homes was damaged by fire earlier this week.

According to fire officials, the 102-year-old home of Hugh and Nyna Fleury was damaged Tuesday by a fire that started in the basement and worked its way through interior walls.

Investigators said the fire started after heat built up in a large pile of dried laundry.

Family members were home at the time and smelled smoke. They opened the door to the basement but were unable to enter because of the smoke.

Family members grabbed a box of important papers and left the house.

Fire Chief Rich Leipfert said the home's basement suffered water damage and paneling on the first floor was destroyed.

Leipfert said fires that start in laundry piles are similar to the spontaneous fires that start in farmers' haystacks or in piles of wood chips.

He said some oily substances don't come out in the washing process and can help fuel a clothes fire, especially if the pile of clothing is covered. The department responded to two similar fires at a local hotel during the past year.

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