A two-story house in Jen- kins caught fire on Christmas Day but the damage was moderate, according to a Jenkins firefighter.
Jim Stephens, a fire prevention officer for the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department, said the fire started after James Ballou left the house at 8979 Highway 805 to make a short trip to the post office on Christmas Day. Stephens said Ballou had been trying to fix a water leak and started a fire in the fireplace to keep the house warm after turning off the electricity. Stephens said Ballou then made the trip to the post office and smelled smoke when he returned around 4 p.m.
“When he opened the door he saw smoke and a spark of fire and he called us,” said Stephens.
Stephens said one window was broken during the fire, with other damage occurring around the chimney and fireplace. An upstairs wall and a small amount of flooring were also damaged.
Stephens said it had been about a year since a fire had been burned in the fireplace and soot had built up. He said the fire could have been going for a little while, because there was charring around the fireplace.
“He was lucky,” said Stephens. “He could have lost the whole place.”
Stephens said no one was living in the house.
“No Christmas presents were ruined,” said Stephens. “No kids involved. Nothing like that.”