Wednesday’s three-alarm fire that damaged two homes in Colorado Springs is being blamed on a pellet stove.
Both homes were completely gutted and the people who lived there lost everything. Fire officials say a pellet stove ignited and within moments the fire was out of control.
It's a scene Sharon Sanders can't get out of her mind.
"I could only just stand there and watch," she said.
Stand and watch as her house went up in flames, Sharon says she had only been home for about 20 minutes when her son noticed the back wall of their house was on fire.
"The smoke started coming into the house and the fire came in through the ceiling," Sharon said.
And then it spread with lightning speed, jumping from Sharon's house to her next door neighbors. A day later fire investigators say a pellet stove is to blame. They say the fire actually started outside of Sharon's house, under the deck, where the exhaust system for the stove was located too close to combustible materials.
"Most problems of any kind are just lack of maintenance or improper installation," said Mark Humphrey who installs stoves.
He says this latest fire is a prime example of what can happen if you're stove is installed incorrectly and not maintained.
"If it does get built up it can ignite and if you're clearances aren’t met on your stove then it can catch something else on fire," Humphrey said.
Pellet stoves need to be cleaned annually just like a normal fireplace. Also the venting for the stoves needs to be installed at least 3 inches away from anything combustible.
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