The city of Columbus Code Enforcement staff has boarded up a home in the 2100 block of 23rd Street after Columbus firefighters were called to an early morning fire there, the third one within the past four years.

Code Enforcement officer Fred Barnett did an emergency inspection of 2143 23rd St. after the 4:36 a.m. Thursday fire and determined the structure is uninhabitable, he said. The city has been unable to contact the property owner but has sent a written notice of its emergency action to the homeowner of record, he said.

Firefighters extinguished a fire at the home that started from a wood-burning stove in the home’s living room, said Capt. Michael Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

Three adult occupants and a dog already had left the residence when firefighters arrived, Wilson said. The firefighters had the small fire above the wood stove under control in about 20 minutes, he said.

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Fire department records show firefighters were called to the home for two previous fires, in March 2014 and again in January 2016, Wilson said.

Thursday’s fire was determined to be accidental, and firefighters noted the home did not have electrical service, Wilson said. The primary heat source for the residence was the wood-burning stove, he said.

According to fire department records, the 2014 fire was caused by a space heater. The 2016 and 2018 fires were attributed to the wood-burning stove, Wilson said.

In the 2016 fire, records show the home did not have electric, gas or water service and the occupants said they were using the wood-burning stove for heat. Records showed then the house had not had gas service since 2009, according to the fire department.

When Barnett inspected the home, he did not find any working utility service — gas, electricity or water — to the structure, he said. The inspection showed that other than a few minor changes, there was no significant evidence that repairs had been made to the home from the previous two fires, he said.

Due to the amount of unrepaired damage caused by the previous fires, investigators could not determine a damage value for Thursday’s fire, Wilson said.

No injuries were reported and the Salvation Army is providing shelter to the family that had been living in the home, Wilson said.

The owner now has 30 days to bring the property into city code compliance, Barnett said. If it is not brought up to code, the city will schedule a hearing to condemn the property before the city’s Board of Works, which can decide whether the home should be demolished, Barnett said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.