April 11, 2014

Morrisonville home damaged by fire

MORRISONVILLE — A fire that damaged a Morrisonville home Wednesday night has been attributed to buildup that led to the collapse of the chimney pipe.

Dexter Criss had lit the furnace at his home at 122 Broadwell Road about 7 or 8 p.m. and had later fallen asleep in a chair in his living room, said Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Randall.

“He woke up to what he thought was running water ... but it was actually the fire crackling. He got up and went to the kitchen and looked out the window, and he could see the whole front of the house was glowing.”

Criss told the Press-Republican he ran upstairs and alerted his wife, Barbara, and their children, Danielle and Dalton, and everyone got out safely.

The Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the two-story wood-frame house at 10:22 p.m. after Clinton County Dispatch received reports of the fire from the Crisses and their neighbors.


The entire house appeared to be fully involved from a distance as Randall rushed there.

“The whole sky was lit up orange,” he said. “You could see it for a good mile away, and I could see the glow in the sky.

“It was actually a really good save.”

As soon as Randall arrived, Mr. Criss spoke with him, saying no one was still inside, the chief said.

“That was a good heads-up right off the bat.”


The fire was caused by creosote, a tar-like substance that forms because of incomplete combustion as a result of burning wood that’s not completely dry, had been building up in the Crisses’ chimney, Randall said.

The chimney pipe got so hot that it lost its structural integrity, Randall said, and the weight of the pipes above it crushed the flue pipe.

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