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Mon., Dec. 22
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Fire causes extensive damage to Champion home

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CHAMPION — A fire at a house owned by Bruce D. and Holly W. Armstrong, at 33720 Route 126, town of Champion, may have originated in the chimney.

“It’s too early in the investigation ... it appears to be in the location of the furnace or chimney,” said Joseph D. Plummer, Jefferson County director of fire and emergency management.

“We think it’s a chimney fire of some sort,” Mr. Armstrong said.

The house is rented by the Armstrongs’ son, Jeffrey, and grandson. At the time of the discovery the son was the sole occupant.

“Our son was taking a shower. He noticed the smoke and went downstairs. When he opened the closet door, flames burst out,” Bruce Armstrong said.

Jeffrey Armstrong could not be reached for comment.

Mrs. Armstrong said the family had been experiencing some trouble with the chimney over the summer, but the issue presumably was taken care of.

The initial call came in at about 9:30 a.m. By 11:15 a.m., the fire was deemed under control.

The Armstrongs did not have fire insurance on the home.

“The house was vacant for a while. We have insurance, but we took it down to the basics,” Mrs. Armstrong said.

“There was extensive damage; smoke through the whole place,” Mr. Plummer said. “The house is definitely not going to be inhabitable.”

The American Red Cross will assist the family.

Eight fire departments responded to the scene: Carthage, West Carthage, Great Bend, Champion, Copenhagen, Rutland, Natural Bridge and Deferiet. The Fort Drum Fire Department and the Carthage Area Rescue Squad also were on site.

Water was brought to the scene from the Champion Fire Station.

No casualties were reported, but the family dog died in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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