House fire blamed on faulty furnace

Published 8:13 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

GASTON – Another Northampton County family is homeless due to a fire apparently caused by a malfunctioning furnace.

According to Ed Porter Jr., chief of Gaston Fire & Rescue, fire units were dispatched at 7:50 p.m. on Friday to a residential modular home on fire. Upon arrival, fire crews found the residents of the North Russell Street home outside and unharmed. Additionally, the firefighters noted heavy smoke coming from inside the house and dark smoke billowing from underneath.

Firefighters pulled hose lines and quickly extinguished the blaze within a 10-minute period. But to do so, they had to cut holes in both the hallway and bathroom floors to access the fire.

“The cause of the fire appeared to have started from the bottom of an electric furnace within the hallway. Fire damage was sustained mostly to the under parts of the home with heavy smoke damage throughout the house,” said Porter.

He added that the American Red Cross was summoned to assist the family with temporary living arrangements.

Firefighters from both Gaston and Garysburg fire departments helped to extinguish the fire, and remained on the scene for two hours, while Gaston EMS provided medical rehab. Further assistance was provided by Gaston Police Department and Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 28, a mother and her five school-age children were displaced after a fire, one also sparked by a faulty furnace, caused significant damage to their rental home at 137 Eagletown Road, located off NC 305 east of Rich Square.

Northampton County Emergency Management Director Ronald Storey Jr. said it was determined that the origin of that fire was in a floor furnace.

“The firemen had to tear up the floor in order to get to the fire’s hot spot,” Storey said.

Storey said the home did not completely burn down, but did suffer extensive damage.

“Because the furnace was is the middle of the home, you can imagine the damage it did,” Storey stated. “It also got up in the walls of the home as well as burning the electrical and plumbing lines.”

The Rich Square Fire Department responded to the blaze. They were assisted by the Woodland Fire Department.