People Evacuated As Fire Rips Through Duplex

Five people were evacuated early Thursday morning (Jan. 30) after a chimney caught fire and tore through a Fort Smith duplex just off Highway 271.

Fort Smith Fire Battalion Chief Ted Abbey said several calls came around 2:15 a.m. after drivers on Interstate 540 noticed thick black smoke in the area.

Keri Didier, who owns the home, said he saw heavy smoke start pouring out of his chimney. That’s when he said he opened the front door of his home to let some of the smoke out and realized his house was on fire.

Didier said he then ran to his neighbors houses to tell them they were in danger.

Abbey said everyone was able to make it out of their homes safely.

Didier told 5NEWS he does have insurance on his home and plans to stay with a friend until the repairs are complete.

Abbey said there was significant damage to the ceiling and roof but the home is salvageable.

Abbey also said a fire wall was in place between the two homes in the duplex, as required by law, which kept the fire from spreading to the neighbor’s home. The other half of the duplex only had some minor water damage, Abbey said.

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