Fire destroys Newport duplex

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — An early morning fire destroyed a two-story duplex in Newport.

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At approximately 5:56 a.m. the Newport City Fire Department was notified of a structure fire with occupants trapped inside at 48 Pond Street.

This home was owned by 46-year-old Clarence Breault, who lived on one side, while his sister, Rose Breault, lived on the other.

Due to the close proximity of neighboring homes, firefighters quickly began suppressing the fire from spreading to any other nearby structures.

Once the blaze was under control, Newport City Fire Chief James LeClair assessed the scene and contacted the Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit for assistance with the origin and cause determination.

Investigators say they responded to the scene and confirmed Chief LeClair’s determination that the fire originated in the basement near a large wood stove or boiler.

Authorities say the fire started in the ceiling area of the basement directly above the wood stove.

“The clearance from the wood stove to the ceiling joists and the floor above was incredibly close to the hot wood stove and after years of heating by the wood stove, the combustible wood material finally caught fire,” Detective Sergeant Todd Ambroz said.

The homeowner had stoked the wood stove in the basement at approximately 3:00 a.m. At 4:30 a.m. he began to smell smoke inside the house.

At some point between 5:15 and 5:30 a.m. Breault discovered the ceiling area above the wood stove in the basement was on fire.

He attempted to extinguish the fire himself by using a garden hose, but the fire spread quickly.

The home is considered a total loss.

According to authorities, the fire is currently classified as accidental.

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