A potentially serious fire was averted this morning when Harwich Fire Rescue was alerted to a possible structure fire at 79 West Tupelo Drive.
First arriving Harwich firefighters discovered smoke showing from the rear of a single-story ranch residential structure and quickly knocked down flames traveling up the outside of the house. Personnel entered the building to perform a primary search and check for possible extension inside the attic. Finding none, they ventilated the house and overhauled the burned area on the outside to make sure that flames had not traveled under the shingles or into the soffit overhang.
All units were cleared within about an hour, and the road reopened by Harwich Police.
The fire’s cause and origin is being investigated, but preliminary indications are that a lamp inside the house came in contact with and ignited a mattress. The homeowner discovered the burning mattress, attempted to extinguish it and then moved it outside, placing it against the back exterior wall of the home. The residents, believing that the mattress fire had been completely extinguished, then left the property to attend church services. While they were gone, the mattress apparently reignited and fire spread to the exterior wall of the house.
This incident serves as a good reminder to always dial 911 for the Fire Department whenever you have a fire (no matter the size) in or around your home. Even when you think you have extinguished the visible flame, a fire can still smolder undetected for a long period of time. It is best to summon the Fire Department with its knowledge and specialized tools (such as a thermal imaging camera) to make sure the fire is completely out and all is safe.
Reporting and photos by CWN associate Craig Chadwick