WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY -- An unattended fireplace led to an accidental Thursday night fire that severely damaged a local home, according to Westchester County's Cause & Origin Team's findings.
The fire took place at 28 Ridge Road in northern New Castle, in a section that is in Mount Kisco's fire district.
Mount Kisco Fire Chief Tom Jackson, who gave the news about the Cause & Origin findings, explained that a family that had been trying to keep warm after losing power to Hurricane Sandy overextended the fireplace.
“They [Cause & Origin] determined that there was a fireplace in the back, in the living room, that had a large fire in it and had been burning for a couple of days now since the power was out," said Jackson.
The insensity of the fire was such that a nearby wall caught on fire. The blaze spread while the family was not in the house, Jackson said, and there were no injuries.
Firefighters responded after 7 p.m. Thursday, according to Jackson.
Jackson said that response from the chiefs was delayed because of a downed tree on Main Street; New Castle is littered with fallen limbs and wires in the wake of Sandy. However, apparatus was quickly rerouted for the scene, he explained. Even without the post- Sandy fallen limbs, Jackson does not believe there would have been a difference in fighting the particular fire they were encountering.
“The fire had a huge head start," he said.
It took roughly 10 minutes to knock down the main body of the fire, Jackson said. New Castle Police were at the scene, while the Bedford Hills Fire Department provided on-site mutual aid. Bedford Hills and Chappaqua firefighters were on standby in Mount Kisco, while the Mount Kisco Volunteer Ambulance Corps came to the scene.
Jackson cautioned people to use their fireplaces safely, noting that they can't be overextended and used to heat an entire house.
The right side of the house suffered major structural damage and appeared to be gutted by the blaze. The right section is no longer structurally safe, either, Jackson explained.