Fire officials said the blaze that damaged a house near Gastonia early Wednesday started in a fireplace.
No injuries were reported in the blaze, which broke out shortly after 2 a.m. at a single-story house in the 2600 block of Davis Park Road. That is a short distance west of U.S. 321, just outside the southern limits of Gastonia.
Firefighters found smoke coming from the house when they arrived. It took a crew of 25 firefighters from the Crowders Mountain, Union Road and Gastonia fire departments about 10 minutes to put out the blaze.
Investigators said the three occupants of the house apparently used the fireplace Tuesday evening, the first chilly night of the season. Sometime during the night, the fire spread to a nearby wall. Damage was estimated at $10,000, authorities said.
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Chris Stowe, spokesman for Crowders Mountain Fire & Rescue, said the blaze is a reminder to residents to have chimneys and wood stoves inspected annually by a specialist, to make sure debris, decorations and flammable materials are moved away from the hearth, and to install smoke alarms throughout houses.