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Passing Motorist Alerts Moodus Homeowner: "Your Garage is on Fire!"

A small hole in a wood-stove exhaust pipe is blamed for causing a structure fire in East Haddam on Tuesday night.

 

A motorist traveling along Route 149 Tuesday evening noticed flames emanating from the side of a garage at 30 Sipple's Hill Road in Moodus.

The driver immediately dialed 911, pulled off the snow-covered road and into the driveway, in an attempt to alert the homeowner.

Willard Olmstead, who was downstairs in his house working in the cellar at the time, heard the knock at the door and came upstairs to investigate.

"The last thing I wanted to hear from anyone was that my garage was on fire!" exclaimed Olmstead.

He ran out to his garage to get his garden hose and immediately began to try to extinguish the flames, which had already burned a fairly large hole in the side of his garage. 

"I only had two or three logs burning in the stove, just enough to warm the garage when I had been out here working earlier. I always watch it very carefully." he explained. "I was lucky the hose wasn't frozen solid like it sometimes is this time of year." 

Olmstead was able to knock down the flames before the fire traveled any further and the East Haddam Volunteer Fire Department arrived with a full crew and several trucks shortly thereafter.

After a brief investigation, East Haddam Fire Marshal Don Angersola was able to determine that the exhaust pipe for the wood stove, located in the front corner of the garage, had a small hole in it, in the area of the damper.

Although the pipe itself appeared basically clean on the inside, a spark could have escaped and caused the wall of the garage to catch on fire.

No injuries were reported.

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