LAPORTE COUNTY | A gas fireplace is blamed for a blaze that heavily damaged a two-story house in LaPorte County just minutes before the New Year.
Michelle Webb, 57, told investigators she turned off the gas fireplace then fell asleep on the couch at her home at 6466 N. LaPorte County Road 200 East.
She woke up to see flames outside and behind a wall where the fireplace sits, said LaPorte County police.
Webb then got out of the house safely.
Kankakee Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Don Stoner said plenty of firefighters responded despite the call coming in when many people are celebrating, just 15 minutes before the clock struck midnight.
"We were fortunate we had a very good turnout," Stoner said.
Three dogs were in a sun room upon the arrival of firefighters who opened the outside door to let the animals out before going inside to battle the flames.
He said about one-third of the house was damaged by fire.
The remainder of the home sustained water and smoke damage.
"I would assume that it should be able to be rebuilt," said Stoner.
What specifically was went wrong with the gas fireplace that caused the fire was not known.
"There was not much left of the fireplace to investigate what caused it, but that's where the fire started," Stoner said.