COLUMBIA—A house fire caused an estimated $50,000 in property damage Saturday night, according to a release from the Columbia Fire Department.
Fire fighters were dispatched to 3305 Brown Station Road at 9:33 p.m. after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor, who reported seeing fire coming from the south side of the house.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found moderate smoke and fire coming from the house. No one was found inside the home, and neighbors reported that the owners, Timothy and Loretta Ralph, were out of town at the time of the fire. According to the release, the blaze was controlled within 15 minutes.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but fire officials suspect the fire could be linked to a problem with electrical wiring. The fire began in the basement of the house, eventually burning through the exterior wall and making the blaze visible to neighbors, the news release stated. The fire caused moderate smoke damage to the main floor of the house as well as heavy smoke and fire damage to the basement.
Although there were no injuries to firefighters or residents, a pet gerbil died in the fire due to smoke inhalation. Fire officials noted that the house was not equipped with working smoke alarms.