COLUMBIA — The second floor and stairwell of an unoccupied home at 604 Florence Ave. caught fire Friday afternoon, causing damage estimated at $40,000, according to a Columbia Fire Department news release.
The home is unoccupied for remodeling, said James Weaver, department battalion chief. The building was searched, and no one was found inside, according to the release, which attributes the cause of the blaze to a heat gun that was used to strip paint.
Dispatch received the call at 1:47 p.m., and crews arrived four minutes later. The fire was knocked down by 1:59 p.m.
Neighbor Rich McDowell was taking a nap when he heard a roaring noise and went outside to a scene of firetrucks.
"I thought it was a street sweeper, and it just stayed there and I thought, 'That can't be,'" McDowell said.
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