Propane tank heater causes structure fire in Elkhart

ELKHART, Ind. – On Sunday around 1:40 p.m., the Elkhart Fire Department responded to a structural fire on 324 West Washington St.

First responders reported that there was heavy brown smoke coming from all soffits and attic vents, finding that flames were found in the first-floor ceiling and second-floor exterior walls and attic area.

The homeowner was outside and told authorities the fire was at the back of the house, stating they had used a propane pancake-type tank heater for heat in the first-floor bathroom, said the report.

First responders were alerted by the owner of the smell of something burning, and when investigating in the back bathroom, the owner had found that the drop ceiling had melted from the heat put out from the heater, said the department.

The report details that the drop ceiling fell onto the floor and started burning, which the homeowner put out with water and did not see any other flames.

A short while later the homeowner reported seeing more smoke and called 911 before exiting the residence, the report said.

Investigations found that the propane heater heated the styrofoam ceiling tiles, which caused them to ignite and lit the wall studs and insulation that extended to the attic space, stated the department.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames with no injuries reported, and secured the building before releasing it to the owner, finished the report.

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