Columbia home catches fire twice in one morning

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | 1:39 p.m. CDT; updated 2:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The Columbia Fire Department responds to the second of two fires on Wednesday at a house at 4301 Vermont Court in south Columbia. The fires left the home uninhabitable.

COLUMBIA — Two fires occurred Wednesday morning at a house at 4301 Vermont Court in south Columbia, leaving the home uninhabitable.

The Columbia Fire Department responded to the first fire at 6:22 a.m. and was able to contain it to the garage within an hour and a half. Firefighters responded to a second fire at the home at 10:17 a.m., Fire Capt. John Metz said.

The residents of the home were asleep at the time of the first fire but were alerted by smoke alarms. The house's four occupants and six pets escaped safely from both fires.

Assistant Fire Marshal Lt. Debbie Sorrell investigated the first fire and determined it to be accidental. She reported that smoldering embers from a torch in the garage workshop caused the fire. 

Damage from the first fire was estimated to be $25,000, but the house was still inhabitable because most of the damage was contained to the garage.

Two to three hours later, the homeowner smelled fresh smoke, saw smoke rising from the garage roof and called the Fire Department. The Fire Department was on the scene within five minutes of receiving the call, Metz said.

After the second fire, the house was deemed uninhabitable. Metz said the cause of the second fire was undetermined and that it was unknown whether the two fires were related.

Supervising editor is Ann Elise Taylor

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