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Fire hits house in city this morning

January 23, 2013 News Extra

An electrical fire early this morning in Butler chased a family of four out of their home and into the cold.

No one was injured and firefighters were able to quickly snuff out the fire but Tina Fennick, her two teenage daughters and one child’s fiance are temporarily homeless, said Butler Fire Chief Nick Ban.

Bad wiring or a faulty circuit breaker is believed to have sparked the blaze at 126 Fourth Ave., a two-story house with an attic.

Fennick, who rents the home, reported problems with the breaker Wednesday night.

“The family said the breaker blew and they tried to reset it, but it blew again,” Ban said. “They left it off and called the owner.”

The owner, Stacey Holbein of Las Vegas, Nev., told Fennick that she would have an electrician out the next day to look at the problem.

The family also described smelling “burning plastic” in the house just minutes after the breaker reportedly blew out, Ban said.

Hours later, while the rest of the family slept, one of Fennick’s daughters awoke to the smell of smoke, Ban said.

“She got out of bed and saw the smoke coming from downstairs,” he said. “Everyone got out and they called 911.”

City firefighters got there about 1:30 a.m. and found heavy smoke coming from the home’s south side.

Damage, estimated at $15,000 to the home, was contained to the kitchen area. An additional $5,000 in damage was reported to the home’s contents.

The Butler chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the Fennick family with emergency needs including housing at a local motel.

“We’re going to do everything possible to make the house livable again as soon as possible,” said Carrie Holbein of Butler, who is looking after the home for her sister.