A Thursday house fire at 2868 Bruce St. in Cumberland appears to have been caused by an electrical short to ground, says fire chief Mike Williamson.
Investigators have ruled out the home’s smart meter as the cause, but say the fire originated near the meter and damaged it.
While damage was extensive, Williamson said the house can be repaired.
“I believe this was because of the neighbours’ awareness and fast action to noises,” he said, noting a 911 call resulted in a quick response by firefighters.
The blaze was contained to the attic space which was ventilated due to roof vents burning off. The fire burned a “great access hole in the gable end,” Williamson said.
Neighbours alerted the residents of the house who escaped without injury. Firefighters removed two pet dogs that were hiding under a couch.
Most of the family belongings were recovered.
The investigation is ongoing.
Williamson said attic fires can be devastating because they contain no fire protection.
“It’s very dry wood and tar roof and this time of year extremely hot and dry.”
Smoke alarms are under drywall which gives some fire protection and insulation, so fires can burn for some time before residents are alerted. Attic fires can also affect wiring in smoke alarms.
Williamson recommends wired smoke alarms with battery backup, or a battery smoke alarm as backup.
Attic fires are dangerous to firefighters because roof trusses quickly become weak.