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Chimney fire doused

Courtney Astolfi • Feb 11, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Bill and Penny Motley, who have lived at the Berlin Township home for about 30 years, could only watch helplessly from their driveway as smoke billowed from the home and firefighters chipped away at their roof.

See more photos of firefighters battling the fire HERE

The couple remodeled the house just last year, but they’ll likely have to begin anew following the fire, Bill said.

While grateful neither they nor their dog, Hannah, were injured in the blaze, it wasn’t the Monday evening they were expecting.    

Firefighters from Berlin, Florence and Vermilion townships knocked down the flames in a little less than an hour. Berlin Township fire Chief Andy Smith said the fire appeared to have started in the upper portion of the chimney, but he was unsure what exactly sparked it.

The Motleys had a fire burning in their woodburning stove as they watched television in a separate part of the house at about 4:30 p.m.

They had no idea something was wrong until they heard a Good Samaritan blaring a horn in the driveway, Penny said.

They both lamented the fact they’d just completed numerous home improvements last year, including a second story and new siding.

The house sustained smoke damage throughout, Smith said. Two rooms in the home were burned, but water also damaged other parts of the structure.

The fire also crept into the attic, forcing firefighters to rip down ceilings and pull out insulation. Penny said she and her husband plan to stay with Bill’s mother until they figure out their next steps.

A damage estimate wasn’t immediately available.

Smith said he plans to follow up on the investigation in the days to come.

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