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Sanbornton firefighters battle electrical fire in floor
SANBORNTON — A reported chimney fire late Tuesday night turned into a 3½-hour battle for firefighters, who found themselves battling a stubborn electrical fire in the floor of a more than 200-year-old house.
Fire Chief Paul Dexter said his department was called at about 10:30 p.m. to a home at 1126 New Hampton Road after the home’s owners reported a chimney fire.
“When I got to the house there was smoke in the entire building, and we investigated it as a chimney fire,” he said.
But a closer look showed the fire was in the floor below the home’s woodstove. It turned out to be a festering electrical problem due to old wiring, he said.
“It was probably smoldering under there for a couple of days before it caused the smoke,” Dexter said. “These older houses pose great problems to firefighters; this is a good example of that.”
Using mostly hand tools, fire crews cut up the flooring around the woodstove, and found lots of warmth and smoke. They kept digging around the floor to find the edges of the smoldering wood, and also dug down 4 to 6 inches into the flooring, he said.
“We just kept digging and digging until we found no fire,” he said. “It’s a challenge to put out a fire when you have to dig for it.”
The homeowners will need to repair the electrical system, Dexter said.
Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 a.m., he said.
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Dan Seufert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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