Three escape Gilmore Street home heavily damaged by fire

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Three people escaped a house fire in the 1900 block of Gilmore Street that was believed to have started in the home’s basement Tuesday night.

Columbus firefighters were sent to 1936  Gilmore St. at 5:42 p.m., where the homeowner told them everyone was out of the home, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

Firefighters saw smoke coming out of the lower level of the two-story home and family members said they thought the fire was near a clothes dryer in the basement. When firefighters went into the basement they encountered thick black smoke, high heat and near zero visibility, Wilson said.

Columbus firefighters were called to a basement fire at 1936 Gilmore Street Tuesday evening. Photo provided

After extinguishing the fire in the laundry area, ventilation fans were used to remove smoke from the basement.

Believing the fire was fully extinguished; firefighters began the process of overhaul, which includes removing burned materials from the home while also checking for fire extension in unburned areas, Wilson said.

As firefighters continued to work inside the home, visible dark smoke began to build, which was visible at this time from the exterior of the residence. Firefighters identified that the construction of the home appeared to be that of balloon construction. Balloon construction, which is common for home built before 1950, is framing consisting of long continuous studs that run from the foundation to the roof rafters. Firefighters identified that flames from the basement traveled up an exterior wall of the home and traveled to the second story bedroom. There, firefighters removed the bedroom drywall and fully extinguished the remaining fire that had extended up the home’s framing, Wilson said. Once the fire was fully extinguished, firefighters provided assistance to the owner by retrieving items from the home.

Fire investigators reported that two children and an adult where in the home at the time of the fire. According to Columbus Fire Department Investigators, the two children where in the basement at the time the fire was discovered. They reported the fire to the adult who then evacuated the home with the children and called 911, Wilson said.

Investigators identified that the fire originated near the clothes dryer. The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time. Damages to the home and structural components, due in part to the balloon construction, were significant. The home was reported to have been built in 1940.  Damages to the home are estimated at $135,000 and include building and contents, Wilson said.

No injuries were reported at the scene. The family is receiving disaster relief support from the American Red Cross at this time. The family was displaced as a result of the fire.

Agencies that assisted at the scene include the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Regional Health EMS, Duke Energy, Columbus City Utilities, CenterPoint Energy and the American Red Cross.