A faulty air conditioner is the suspected cause of the early Tuesday morning three-alarm fire that destroyed one residence and damaged several structures at the corner of Weaver and Strain streets in Knightsville.
Shortly after 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, members of the Van Buren and Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Departments and the Brazil City Fire Department battled the intense fire that destroyed Rochelle Moize's residence at 9696 N. Weaver St., and also melted the siding on several structures just south on Strain St.
"It was fully engulfed when we arrived," Van Buren Fire Chief Pete Taylor said.
Neighbors told officials that the Moize's air conditioning unit was cycling on and off more than usual before the fire, which, according to Taylor, could have led to the home's fuse box shorting out, causing the fire.
"The house was pretty much gone before we got there, but we were able to save the family's barn and the house just south of it," Taylor said, adding that the siding on Robert Stultz's home, 9659 N. Weaver St., was severally melted from the heat from the fire. "You could look into the window on the north side of their house and see where the heat melted the window blinds."
The Moize family was able to escape without any injuries from their home, which was covered by insurance.
Taylor said he contacted the American Red Cross to help provide them a place to stay while they make further living arrangements.