Carolina Panthers coach, Ron Rivera, and his wife woke to a frightening scene at 3:30 am January 5th. Their $1.3 million home was on fire because of faulty instillation and material used in their fireplace.
Ron and his wife were able to escape with their most treasured belongings and their life, before over $500,000 of damage was done to their Charlotte, North Carolina home.
“Fireplaces are a common cause of house fires for multiple reasons,” said Dennis Barnes, an industry expert and owner of Piccadilly Square Chimney Sweeps, which services Harford County, Baltimore County and other locations around Maryland. “Faulty installation or inadequate materials are extremely dangerous, as the Rivera’s learned last month. Proper annual fireplace inspections can uncover these problems and others, like the build-up of flammable soot,” Barnes added.
The Charlotte Fire Department stated in its final report that no foul play was involved. The fire began in the wall in the master bedroom, where the Riveras were sleeping. The fireplace was built directly into the wood subflooring and was missing a baseplate, the investigation found.
The report stated, “The material or fuel which first ignited was the sub-floor which was in direct contact with the bottom portion of the fireplace. The act or omission which brought the ignition source and first material / fuel together was probably caused by a material defect or the improper installation of the fireplace.”
“The house sustained some damage, but probably the greatest thing was that they saved a lot of our personal mementos, everything from our wedding album to our wedding pictures, family photos,” Rivera said. “Those are the kinds of things that you can’t replace.”
It’ll be another six to eight months before renovations are complete and the Carolina Panthers’ coach and his wife can return to their home.
See a report from ESPN on the fire here.
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