Chimney fire escalates into more serious trouble for Palestine couple

Morning Journal/Patti Schaeffer While East Palestine Fire Capt. Josh Foster keeps searching for the source of the continuously smoldering material, Assistant Fire Chief Tim Griffith (right) keeps an eye on the garage area.

EAST PALESTINE — A couple were temporarily displaced from their home after a fire started in the chimney Wednesday evening.

Fire Chief Josh Brown said his department was notified around 7:30 p.m. of a fire at 62 state Route 170, the home of Helen and Joseph Huda.

Brown said firefighters found a small fire in the attic that was believed to have started in the chimney. His crew, along with firefighters from Negley and New Waterford, were able to get the fire out and were at the home for about three hours.

However, around 12:15 a.m. Mrs. Huda reported smelling smoke in the home and requested a firefighter come back and check.

Brown said he and three other firefighters were en route to check for the source of the smoke when Mrs. Huda called back and said that she could now hear cracking in the wall and could see smoke.

At that point Brown requested a full response from East Palestine’s department, an engine and a tanker from New Waterford and an engine from Negley to stand by at the East Palestine Main Street fire station.

He said the fire was found in the wall between the brick wall fireplace and the chimney, resulting in firefighters having to remove the fireplace to get to the fire.

“It was apparent the fire was caused from missing mortar and cracks in the chimney,” he said.

The home, which is insured, suffered minor smoke and water damage and the Hudas went to stay with local relatives for the evening.

Crews spent four hours at the home extinguishing the rekindle and were back in service by 5 a.m., he said.

In all, the East Palestine department had 13 firefighters, two engines, a tanker, command unit and utility truck on scene, while New Waterford responded with seven firefighters, an engine and a tanker and Negley stood by at the East Palestine station with five firefighters and an engine.