ST. MARYS — A house fire on Neil Avenue Tuesday afternoon threw thick smoke into the air and caused close to $100,000 in damage.
Firefighters from the St. Marys Fire Department arrived on the scene of a house fire at 1501 Neil Ave. shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday. When crews arrived, they quickly made entry into the residence.
“They had heavy fire on the rear of the structure and it was through the roof,” St. Marys Fire Chief Joey Weaver told The Evening Leader. “They pulled some hose lines and went in through the front door and hit it to extinguish the fire.”
No one was home at the time of the blaze. Weaver noted the rear of the home sustained severe smoke and fire damage as crews fought to knock the flames down.
“It was pretty involved when we got there,” Weaver said. “We called the state fire marshal in because someone said they heard an explosion and because of the dollar loss to the property.”
The fire’s cause was labeled undetermined by the state fire marshal. Weaver said the explosion was more than likely the result of a back draft.
“I think it had been burning for quite some time with that amount of smoke that had banked down inside the structure,” Weaver said. “The boom was probably when it finally got air, it back drafted.”
St. Marys Township and Celina fire departments provided mutual aid. Crews remained on the scene for six hours, which included investigation time.
No firefighters were injured during the course of fighting the blaze. Weaver estimated the loss to be $80,000 to $100,000. According to online county records, the home is owned by Stephen Wagner.