Fire in vacant house spreads, damages 2 others

Posted at 12:49 AM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 00:55:15-05

COVINGTON, Ky. – A fire in a vacant house doesn't sound like a big problem until it spreads to inhabited houses next door or puts firefighters in unknown danger.

Such a fire chased two families out of their homes  Monday night and destroyed some of their belongings.

"Clothes, pictures, all her Christmas stuff have been ruined. Her whole room was destroyed," Chasity Willoughby said after a fire on Mackoy Street.

And Willoughby said her family was lucky. Her husband was able to rescue their daughter from her upstairs bedroom.

"Our stairwell was the first thing to burn, and if he didn't go up there and get her when we did, we wouldn't have been able to get her," she said.

The fire started just before midnight Tuesday, and now seven people are displaced.

Fires in vacant house pose a special risk for firefighters, Covington Fire Chief Daniel Matthew said.

"Vacant structures [are] a danger to us. We have no idea what condition the homes are in and it's a danger topeople who may be squatting in those buildings," he said. "There's no heat - there's electricity sometimes -  [so] they build fires to keep warm." 

It's unclear if that's what sparked Monday night's fire.

The fire chief said the second floor collapsed, making it a dangerous to try to go inside to investigate and possibly determine the cause of the fire

The fire chief said this was the second recent fire that  began in a vacant house.