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Hume area family displaced after Sunday night fire

Monday, Jan. 21 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Firefighters survey the chimney and attic of a home on Putnams Mill Road after extinguishing a chimney fire Sunday night. - Photo by Mark Grandstaff
A chimney fire displaced a family near Hume Sunday night.

Ray Mifflin, who lives in the Putnams Mill Road house, first noticed the fire when he stepped outside into the dark.

"I had just turned out the dogs, when I saw a spark that shouldn't be there," Mifflin said.

Mifflin got his family out of the house, grabbed a garden hose, aimed it at his two-story home, and called 9-1-1.

Fauquier dispatchers sent out the call for a chimney fire at 6:40 p.m. But the flames soon crept into the attic. Orlean Assistant Chief John Kerns, first on the scene, arrived to see fire and smoke billowing from the chimney and back of the house.

Firefighters and EMTs from Orlean, Marshall, The Plains, Upperville, Warrenton, Amissville, Flint Hill and Chester Gap fire deparments answered the call, their trucks blocking Crest Hill Road at the base of Mifflin's long driveway.

It took about 10 minutes to extinguish the fire, Kerns said, but not before it had burned a hole through the back of Mifflin's home. Firefighters stayed for a couple hours to vent smoke from the house and check the attic and chimney for residual hot spots.

Kerns blamed the metal, prefabricated structure of the chimney for the fire's spread. A more traditional chimney, of cinder block construction, is often able to contain a chimney fire long enough to prevent widespread damage, he said.

"This here is not a real good chimney," Kerns said.

In the end, firefighters were able to save most of the house. Mifflin and his family praised the fire departments for their fast response, and his neighbors for giving them emergency shelter.

"If it had to be a fire, I'm glad it was the house and not the barn," Mifflin said.
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