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Fireplace fails, igniting Tampa house's walls

TAMPA — The cold weather means rare use for fireplaces. For one Tampa woman trying to stay warm, it almost led to disaster.

Sunday morning, homeowner Patricia Alchediak of 3609 N Dartmouth Ave. started a fire but began to notice too much smoke coming out of her fireplace.

Outside, smoke seemed to be flowing through her house, itself, and not through the chimney as it was supposed to travel. Turns out, the mortar between bricks in the old fireplace failed allowing heat from the fireplace and chimney to seep into the home's wooden walls and attic.

Tampa Fire Rescue crews responded and put out the fire within 15 minutes. Firefighters pulled down wallboard surrounding the fireplace and quickly extinguished the small but growing fire inside the home's wall, fire officials said in a statement.

On the roof of the home, firefighters opened up a small area near the chimney and put out burning wood in the attic, as well.

No one was hurt and most of the home was spared damage though losses are estimated at about $25,000.

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or

Fireplace fails, igniting Tampa house's walls 01/10/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 10, 2010 1:03pm]
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