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Malfunctioning fireplace caused Auburn house fire, investigation finds

Investigators have found that a malfunctioning fireplace caused a house fire in Auburn Sunday night that left two people without a home.
Auburn (WSYR-TV) – Investigators have found that a malfunctioning fireplace caused a house fire in Auburn Sunday night that left two people without a home. The fire began just after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday at 100 Lansing Street.

Two adults who lived in the home were displaced, but no one was injured.

Firefighters were at the house along Lansing Street until the early hours Monday morning.

Homeowner Debra Koon surveyed what is now just a charred shell of the home she grew up in. Sunday night she watched as firefighters tried to salvage the house filled with generations of pictures and keepsakes.

The fire spread quickly as the bitter cold took a toll on equipment used to battle the blaze.

“We had a frozen hydrant on the scene, which resulted in having to drag about 1,000 feet of hose down to the next hydrant to get a water supply,” explained Auburn Fire Chief Jeffrey Dygert.

Firefighters rotated in shifts throughout the night to get warm, fighting the fire and hot spots that popped up for eight hours afterward.

“You get yourself all wet just from spraying. People's gear was frozen solid. When they took it off they stayed right in that position,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ed Sherman.

Gear and vehicles had to thaw out at the fire department overnight and now, the house will have to thaw out too before Debra Koon can search for any family photos that may be salvageable.

“Inside, there are a ton of icicles, the hardwood floors are covered with ice and water and my mother’s dishes are all broken and scattered all over,” Koon said. “It’s just a mess.”

The Red Cross is helping the family. They and firefighters say they’re thankful to all those in the community who brought hot drinks and food to the scene Sunday night.

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