Common household item sparks Indiana house fire

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WXIN) -- A Zionsville family is without a home after a fire quickly spread causing them to lose everything.

Firefighters say the flames started in a bathroom exhaust fan. Crews saw flames coming from the roof when they arrived to the home Wednesday. The fire was confined to the attic.

"Once I got here flames were already put out but the fire investigators were here and they found out the root cause was the bathroom fan," daughter Melissa Mestetsky said.

The fan had been in the home for 17 years.

Captain Mike Pruitt with the Wayne Township Fire Department says these type of fires are not uncommon.

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Fire safety tips

Keep smoke detectors in each floor of your home, make sure the batteries are replaced periodically and the entire unit replaced every 10 years. 

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Keep at least one carbon monoxide alarm in your home and replace the unit every 5-7 years. 

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Make sure any young children in your home are educated about fire safety

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Create a fire escape plan

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Keep flammable items away from heat sources, such as windows, space heaters and baseboard heating. 

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"That fire being in the ceiling many times can go undetected and spread into the attic space before we know what's going on," Pruitt said.

From everyday use the fans naturally collect lint and dust. The wear and tear can also become a fire hazard.

And the motor also becomes very dirty and over time it's going to cause that motor to stop functioning properly and we're going to get an electrical fire or a fire that starts from the lint and the dust that's in the fan," Pruitt said.

Captain Pruitt says you should check and clean your bathroom exhaust fan at least once a year.

"If you do notice there's any damage of discoloration to the fan or anywhere around it then let's get a new fan and get that installed in the home," Pruitt said.

Even in a stressful situation the family is thankful this lesson didn't cost them their lives.

"Don't take things for granted. Keep an eye out on all the small things in a home," Mestetsky said.

The family was not home when the fire started and their pets did make it out.

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