Fireplace malfunction nearly causes fire, puzzles vacationing family

Concern has been swirling after a local family was alerted that their bedroom sham was burned by their faulty fireplace.

COTSWALD, N.C. - A Cotswald family was on vacation when they heard their home almost burned down.

Elizabeth Morrison, her husband and their three kids were on a family trip to Hilton Head when a neighbor called with some bizarre and troubling news.

“They called me and sent me pictures of one of our bedroom shams and the pillow was burned. It was pretty well charred,” said Morrison.

Before they'd left, her husband had haphazardly thrown the pillows and they'd landed near the fireplace. "We've never turned that fireplace on in nine years of living here,” she said.

The family thought maybe lightning was to blame, but really had no idea. So, they called the fire department. “It’s kind of amazing the whole house didn’t burn down.”

Firefighters ruled out lightning and brought a special investigator in to look into the incident, who tore apart the bottom of the fireplace.

“And that’s when he realized even when ignition starter was turned to off, when you flip the switch on the wall, it still tried to start.”

A spokesman for the fire department told us their investigation was inconclusive. This mom of three adds, “There’s something weird going on with the fireplace because even if that switch was on, this ignition switch was off.”

The fire burned quickly and stopped with the non-flammable pillow, so the mom of three is grateful, but also confused.

“It could have been much worse to think that that was actually burning in my bedroom when we were gone for a whole week. I’m full of questions that will never be answered, and also filled with relief.”

The only thing they know to do at this point, everything touching that fireplace is disconnected until they can potentially figure out what happened.

The family has also called the maker of the fireplace to have an engineer come inspect it.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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