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Warding off chilly weather blamed for two Port Angeles fires

November 12th, 2012 - 5:15am

(Port Angeles) -- The cold weather over the weekend may be to blame for two fires in Port Angeles.

Saturday night, firefighters were called to an unattached garage and outbuilding burning on Tiller Road south of town.

The garage contained a car, camper, propane tanks and a number of cats.

When crews arrived, they found flames shooting 30 feet in the air and multiple explosions. The roof had collapsed. Fire District Two chief Sam Phillips estimates the loss at 100-thousand dollars. Phillips suspects that use of a wood stove along with portable heaters and a heat lamp to keep pets warm during recently chilly nights may have ignited nearby combustibles.

Eight of the nine cats have been found safe and Phillips thinks the ninth may have also gotten out of the fire but hasn't been found yet.

Then, a second fire early was reported yesterday morning at 292 Mount Pleasant Road. Crews found fire burning in a fireplace to ward off the chill had escaped through the masonry of the chimney causing about 10-thousand dollars damage to Fred McGee's home.

Phillips, says both fires should serve as a reminder that winter requires special attention to all types of heating devices including a minimum of three feet of clearance around portable heaters and stoves. He says chimneys should be inspected and cleaned before use. He also says every level of a home should have a smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

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