SEBRING — An air conditioner has been named as the cause of a fire Saturday night that took out the second floor of an Oak Avenue home in downtown Sebring.
It took an approximate hour and 50 minutes for fire crews from Sebring fire stations 14 and 15 to put out the fire and clear the scene. Fire reports state the blaze was confined to the room where it started.
The wood frame house sits directly behind The Palms at Sebring, less than a block off South Ridgewood Drive. It has a mailbox address of 228 Oak Ave. and a listing of 230 Oak Ave. with the Highlands County Property Appraiser’s Office, which states it was built in 1973.
According to Sebring Fire Department incident reports, a fire alarm went off just seconds before 9:19 p.m. Saturday, followed by a dispatch 30 seconds later for a two-story house with flames coming out the second-story windows.
Engine 14, stationed downtown, arrived shortly after 9:22 p.m., reports said, and Engine 15, coming from U.S. 27, arrived shortly after 9:26 p.m.
Going in through the front door and by way of a ladder set against a window of that bedroom, reports state, firefighters had Duke Energy cut power to the house and then attacked the fire.
The property owner arrived and told fire crews she had two dogs in the house. Fire crews were able to rescue them, fire reports state.
They then got the fire under control and started mopping up for hot spots.
After talking with witnesses, the fire department ruled the fire accidental, with no contributing human factors, caused by a power malfunction/electrical arcing in a window air-conditioning unit in the burned bedroom.
The homeowner was advised the house was unlivable and was advised to wait two days before reentering the structure.
The American Red Cross arrived to provide help to the family, fire reports state, which included direct financial assistance for immediate emergency food and clothing needs. Red Cross officials said the family was not in need of temporary shelter at this time, but the Red Cross would continue to work with them.
Engine 15 cleared the scene at 11:14 p.m. Saturday, and Engine 14 cleared at 12:22 a.m. Sunday.