Winthrop and Twisp fire stations responded to a house fire in Winthrop on Jan. 15 and extinguished it before it spread.
Ten firefighters from Okanogan County Fire District 6 contained the blaze in about an hour and half, with relatively minor damage to the house, Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Stamps said. The residence is habitable, he said.
The first firefighters to arrive discovered fire in the wall and ceiling above a propane fireplace, according to a Facebook post by District 6. Firefighters opened the wall and extinguished the flames in both the wall and ceiling.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but it’s possible that snow movement damaged the chimney, the district said.
This season’s heavy snow and ice build-up on roofs has damaged many chimneys. When snow slides off a roof, it can take the chimney with it, Stamps said.
People need to make sure that chimneys are secure and well maintained. Check the mortar on a brick chimney and make sure that metal chimneys are reinforced. If a chimney cracks or moves, it no longer protects the house, Stamps said.
Chimneys that run up the side of a house can be even more vulnerable, he said.