House Fire: Electricity Found To Be Cause

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ATHENS — A fire that killed multiple pets at a family home Wednesday was found to be electrical in nature, according to Athens Fire Chief Robert Rymer.

Fire crews from Athens and The Plains fought the fire for about three hours yesterday at a home on North Lancaster Street, near the Dairy Queen. Rymer said in a news release the fire was discovered at about 12:25 p.m. by a passerby, who reported smoke coming from the home.

Firefighters were able to control the fire at about 3 p.m., and completed their investigation into the fire two hours later, according to the release.

“The estimated loss is $190,000 for the home and its contents,” Rymer stated in the release.

Investigators determined the source of the fire was in the living room, and that it was related to the electrical system in the house.

The home is owned by Mark and Ellen Kroutel, but none of the three occupants were home at the time of the fire.

Ellen Kroutel said in a statement a light set to a timer in the living room malfunctioned.

Another member of the Kroutel family, Heather Giles, said in a post on Facebook that the family is working with insurance adjusters to begin “picking up the pieces.”