Attic fire blamed on electrical issue

An electrical problem sparked a Thursday morning attic fire south of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.’s administration building.

Smoke was visible from the attic vents and eaves when Columbus firefighters arrived shortly after 8 a.m. at the home of Benji and Ashley Smith, 1033 Central Ave., according to Columbus Fire Department spokesman Capt. Mike Wilson.

Two children who live in the house were not home, and three adults had safely exited before first responders arrived, Wilson said.

Homeowner Ashley Smith, 32, told investigators that she discovered smoke inside the bathroom and alerted her husband, Benji Smith, 39. Ashley Smith told investigators that her husband looked in the attic by opening an attic access door located in a closet. Benji Smith said that when he entered the attic he could see flames located above the bathroom. He used a sweatshirt to smother the fire while Ashley Smith called 911, Wilson said.

Despite encountering smoke, firefighters saw no additional fire as they took precautions to ensure the fire would not reignite, Wilson stated. Firefighters did not find smoke detectors in the home, Wilson said.

The Columbus Fire Department recommends that every home have at least one working smoke alarm. Ideally, smoke alarms should be installed on each level of a home and in all sleeping rooms, Wilson said.

“Smoke alarms are an inexpensive tool for early fire detection that every home should have,” says Columbus Fire Chief Mike Compton. “You double your chances of self-rescuing from a residential fire when you have working smoke alarms in the home.”

Damage to the Central Avenue home was listed at about $1,500, and the electrical service will remain disconnected until repairs can be made, Wilson said.

Firefighters were at the scene for about two hours, Wilson said. No injuries were reported.