A late-night fire damaged a vacant Parsons home Wednesday.
Parsons firefighters were called at 11:23 p.m. Wednesday to 1617 Thornton, a home owned by Suzanne Lahey of Cherryvale. Firefighters estimated damage to the house and its contents at $24,450.
According to the fire report, firefighters saw heavy fire on the house when they arrived. Flames were clearly above the roofline in the back of the house. Firefighters sprayed water on the back of the house and another crew entered the house to attack the fire.
Firefighters had utilities turned off as well.
On Wednesday night, firefighters found a screw that had been spun into a break box through a breaker.
The owner told firefighters that she was in the house Wednesday night making sure the heat was working. The thermostat wasn’t working so her helper removed the thermostat and the furnace kicked on. She was going to leave the thermostat off overnight and get it replaced in the morning, the report said.
Fire Chief Kenny Ward and the battalion chief on Thursday’s shift looked at the structure again in the afternoon. They found a point of origin near the wall furnace, which may have caused a possible short or breaker malfunction at the breaker panel. Both areas had burn patterns that could explain two possible points of origin.
Ward wrote in the report that after further research he learned that it is a common recommendation and acceptable practice to keep a breaker in place in old houses with a screw. Ward said the cause was estimated to be electrical or a heater motor failure or both.
Besides Parsons firefighters, Altamont firefighters responded under a mutual aid agreement.