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Early detection of electrical fire saves Williamsburg home

The home sustained minimal damage, fire officials said, because smoke set off a smoke alarm before the fire could spread throughout the house at 93 South St.

“The alarm system picked up smoke in the building and dialed in the alarm company around 12:30,” Williamsburg Fire Chief Donald Lawton said at the scene of the fire. “It was very lucky that the homeowner had that alarm system because this could have turned into a serious fire.”

Homeowner Elizabeth Schuster was not at home at the time the fire broke out.

The alarm company contacted a neighbor, Gill Smith, who often keeps an eye on Schuster’s home.

“I work just down the street,” said Smith, who is a retired firefighter. “I came over and opened the garage door and a lot of smoke came out.”

According to Lawton, sparks from the electrical short had ignited some insulation in the home just over the garage entrance.

Firefighters from Williamsburg and Northampton responded to the scene, extinguishing the fire and combing the home for additional hot spots.

“We used the thermal imager throughout the home to pinpoint where the fire had started, and to find any other areas that might be a problem,” Williamsburg firefighter Robin Merritt said.

Lawton said as fires go, there was “very little damage,” estimating repair costs at around $1,000.

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