Firefighters responded to a fire at a home in the 300 block of North Kenwood Avenue, near 11 Mile and North Campbell roads, July 29.

Firefighters responded to a fire at a home in the 300 block of North Kenwood Avenue, near 11 Mile and North Campbell roads, July 29.

Photos provided by the Royal Oak Fire Department


Royal Oak firefighters respond to early stage house fire

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 30, 2021

 The Royal Oak Fire Department listed the cause of a July 29 fire that appeared to have started in a knee wall area of a home in the 300 block of North Kenwood Avenue as undetermined.

The Royal Oak Fire Department listed the cause of a July 29 fire that appeared to have started in a knee wall area of a home in the 300 block of North Kenwood Avenue as undetermined.

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ROYAL OAK — At approximately 11:30 a.m. July 29, Royal Oak firefighters responded to a report of smoke in the attic of a house in the 300 block of North Kenwood Avenue, near 11 Mile and North Campbell roads.

Assistant Fire Chief Jim Cook said the homeowners had taken their dog for a walk. When they returned, Cook said, they smelled smoke and noticed a light haze but could not find the source.

“We were there for a while because we couldn’t really find the fire,” Cook said. “We kind of knew where it was, but there wasn’t a lot of fire and we couldn’t locate the source.”

He said the homeowners put water on the fire and extinguished it themselves, but what caused the blaze confounded fire officials. It appeared to have started in a knee wall area.

“It was in the corner of the house and mostly on the outside under the shingles and along the gutter line and drip edge from the roofing,” Cook said. “It must have been some sort of electrical charge, but we don’t know what.”

He said he spoke with the city electrician and they agreed that it was likely a grounding issue. Fire officials determined that the fire was due to a backfeeding house service or leaking from the house service into the gutter, charging the house with electricity.

Firefighters shut off electrical service to the home.

“We’re not going to know any more than that,” Cook said. “Basically, it’s going to be called ‘undetermined.’”

He said there was little to no damage to the interior of the home and that the homeowners were lucky to have returned home when they did.

“It would have burned all the way through the roof if they were not home,” Cook said. “If it had gone half an hour, it would have gone through the roof.”

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