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2 escape home blaze started in basement


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Columbus Firefighter Craig Weddle applies water into the attic of a home at 2013 Cherry St.  about 9%u202Fa.m. Tuesday. / Photo provided courtesy of Columbus Fire Department
Columbus Firefighter Craig Weddle applies water into the attic of a home at 2013 Cherry St. about 9%u202Fa.m. Tuesday. / Photo provided courtesy of Columbus Fire Department


A fire that began in the basement destroyed a home at 2013 Cherry St. Tuesday morning, but the couple renting the home and their dog escaped unharmed.

Eli and Brittney Fee smelled and saw smoke coming from the basement of the house at about 8:50 a.m. where the dryer had been running for 20 to 30 minutes. Their daughter also lives in the home, but was at school when the fire occurred.

Eli Fee went downstairs with a bowl of water and saw the flames coming from the dryer, with a pile of clothes and an ironing board sitting nearby. At that point, the flames had spread too far and he called 911.

There were working smoke alarms in the house, but none in the basement.

Columbus Fire Department spokesman Capt. Mike Wilson said about 25 emergency responders were called to the house — but they couldn’t attack the fire directly.

“With basement fires, there’s always an added danger,” Wilson said. “You don’t know how fast it’s progressed or how much structural damage there is.”

The fire was under control by 11 a.m.

Wilson called the house a complete loss, with $80,000 in damage to the structure and $20,000 to the contents.

Eli Fee inhaled some smoke and fell on the stairs to the basement, but declined medical treatment — and their dog, Chevy, also was safe but shaken, Wilson said.

The family is working with the Red Cross to obtain living arrangements. The couple, who were renting the house from Jim Francisco, told firefighters they did not have renter’s insurance.

Brittney Fee said she had done a load of laundry Monday night and cleaned the lint trap out after that, and Francisco said he had not experienced any electrical issues with the dryer in the past.

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