A cracked chimney liner is to blame for an early morning Friday house fire in Waynesboro that left three people injured and killed two family pets.
Just after 4:30 a.m. on Friday, the Waynesboro Fire Department was dispatched to a home for a reported structure fire in the 800 block of Grayson Avenue.
Upon arrival, firefighters found “heavy smoke conditions” coming from the single-family residence, according to the Waynesboro Fire Marshal’s office.
All occupants were able to evacuate the residence, however, three residents sustained various levels of burns and all occupants sustained some degree of smoke-inhalation injuries. Waynesboro First Aid Crew transported three patients — two to a local hospital, and one flown to an unidentified burn unit. In addition, two pets died in the fire.
The Fire Marshal’s office said Saturday that the cause of the fire was a chimney fire that was able to escape into the attic space through a cracked chimney liner. The fire engulfed the attic space before burning through the walls.
Officials said fire crews on the scene had difficulty extinguishing the blaze because of the age of the structure, type of construction, storage within the structure and below-freezing temperatures. The fire was contained approximately one hour after firefighters arrived, but the entire house was destroyed.
The Waynesboro Fire Marshal’s Office estimates the fire loss to be around $48,000 including the structure and contents.
Fire crews from Dooms Volunteer Fire Department and Augusta County Fire and Rescue aided in putting out the fire.
The names of the injured house fire occupants had not been released as of Sunday.
According to a GoFundMe created for the family, the occupants were a great grandmother, grandmother, mother, pregnant daughter and her baby’s father. Family members on the scene Friday said the mother and pregnant daughter were taken to Augusta Health in Fishersville and were discharged Friday afternoon. The grandmother, family members said, was taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond and is in stable condition.
As of Sunday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $500 toward a $3,500 goal for the family.
To decrease the chance of a structure fire, the Fire Marshal’s office encourages homeowners to have chimneys inspected annually, if not biannually, and cleaned on a regular basis.