A chimney fire destroyed a house in the Patterson community of Caldwell County early Friday morning, the fire marshal’s office said.
The fire was reported just before 4 a.m. at a home on Setzers Creek Road in Lenoir, Caldwell County officials said.
The homeowner told officials he woke up to find flames in the walls and ceiling around his woodstove, which was in a reworked fireplace. He escaped safely and went to a neighbor’s house to call 911, officials said.
Robbie Wilkie, Caldwell County fire marshal/emergency management coordinator, said the fire started in the chimney and that the chimney did not have a flue liner.
"Particularly in older homes, chimneys were built out of brick and mortar with no flue liner," Wilkie said. "Over time, the mortar can crack from heating and cooling, residue will build up and flames can escape through those cracks and ignite any combustible material, like wood, surrounding it. It's very important to make sure that if you use a fireplace and chimney, in any manner, to have a flue liner and clean the chimney regularly."
Damages were estimated at $50,000. Wilkie said both the home and a vehicle were destroyed.