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Sophia Street fire caused by oil furnace
A faulty oil furnace is the apparent cause of Wednesday’s fire at 504 Sophia St., which kept fire crews busy for a few hours, Fredericksburg Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones said.
The furnace had been re-started a couple of times in the past several days because it kept going out, Jones said. A large amount of creosote that had built up in the flue pipe also contributed to the problem.
The fire likely smoldered for several days before it got enough air to start and burn freely.
Firefighters were called to the residence at 3:52 pm by a real estate agent who had shown up to show the home for sale and smelled smoke.
No flames or smoke were visible when units arrived several minutes later. But after some investigation, fire was discovered inside the flue pipe and in a vertical chase area that enclosed the masonry chimney in the residence.
Firefighters had to open the area around the chimney on the first and second floors to extinguish the fire.
Damage was limited to the rear wall and chimney areas of the home, but the electric, gas and water had to be shut off to the property as precautions.
The Fire Marshal’s Office of the Fredericksburg Fire Department conducted the origin and cause investigation and after examining the fire scene and talking with people familiar with the structure and its’ systems, the origin and cause was determined.
No injuries were reported and damage is estimated at $20,000. Firefighters from the Fredericksburg Fire Department were assisted by the Falmouth Fire Department and another truck from Stafford County.