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Cause of Jan. 4 Town of Orleans fire remains unknown

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LAFARGEVILLE — The cause of a Jan. 4 fire at 32480 Wilder Road in the town of Orleans is believed to have been caused by an unknown electrical problem.

“We were unable to determine how it started because of the extent of the damage,” said Joseph D. Plummer, director of the Jefferson County Office of Fire and Emergency Management.

Mr. Plummer said there was no way of locating a specific source.

Jefferson County deputy fire coordinator David P. Gosier earlier speculated that the cause could have been the homeowner’s attempt to thaw frozen pipes. A number of pipes across the county froze that weekend. Homeowner Matthew L. Hartle said, however, that there was no way to gain access to the crawl space and that he was not trying to thaw any pipes.

The home belonged to Mr. Hartle and his wife, Brooke E. Firefighters struggled to get water to the home as it was in a remote area. The fire rekindled, and the home was deemed a total loss. “I just want to thank the local community for all their support and the help they provided,” Mr. Hartle said.

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