Faulty stove causes Monday-night fire

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A wood-burning stove is being blamed for a fire Monday that destroyed a home just outside of Sherman.

Grayson County fire officials are blaming an improperly installed stove for a Monday-night blaze the destroyed a residence just outside Sherman city limits.

Sherman Fire-Rescue received a call of a fire at 6:36 p.m. Monday night within a residence along State Highway 56 near FM 1417. When officials arrived, they found that the fire was outside limits, and the site was cut off from resources.

"The fire was a result of wood-burning stove and flue that was improperly installed, with improper clearance and tolerances and ignited combustibles in the attic," Grayson County Fire Marshal John Weda said.

The 4,400-square-foot structure was a former gun club that was converted into a single residence several years ago, Weda said. At the time of the fire, three people were inside the home. No one inside the building was injured during the blaze.

"It is actually outside city limits and in the county, so there wasn't a water supply,"  Weda said. "They called for mutual aid from Bells Fire Department, Howe Fire Department for supply."

Weda said the cause of the fire was likely a  wood-burning stove with a flue that was improperly installed. The flue did not have the proper clearances and ignited material in the attic. The blaze then spread to other parts of the home.

The Red Cross was called for victim assistance. Weda did not think the owners have homeowner's insurance.

Weda noted that it is the time of year when many people will use space heaters, wood-burning stoves and other sources of heat to stay warm during the winter. However, he said it is vital that people use proper precautions.

The first step is to ensure that  the home is equipped with working smoke detectors. Space heaters should have three feet of clearance and should not be plugged into an extension cord. Multiple heaters should not be installed on the same circuit due to potential overload, Weda said.

"The most important thing is that if you are going to use a fire place or stove that you have it checked regularly by a qualified technician or chimney sweep," he said. Have it looked at and make sure there is no creosote built up."