East Arlington house fire believed to have started in chimney

Homeowner says they heard popping after lighting fire in fireplace

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An East Arlington house fire Wednesday night was believed to have been caused by something wrong in the chimney, according to the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department. 

The fire was reported about 8:15 p.m. at a home on Portside Drive in a neighborhood off Fort Caroline Road.

Firefighters said there was a fire in the fireplace and the homeowner added some wood when he heard some crackling. He then saw fire.

About 25 firefighters responded, and it took them 15 minutes to put the blaze out. 

Todd Keeler was one of two people inside the home at the time. Both got out safely.

"We were running the fireplace last night, as we have for the last week, and at some point we heard, essentially, some noise, popping," Keeler told News4Jax on Thursday. "I went out into the garage and the wall that's shared by the chimney in the garage was basically already fully involved and it was up to the roof line."

There's no word yet on how much damage was done to the house, but Keeler said they will have to live somewhere for about 90 days while the home is repaired.

Last night, the Weather Authority reported a low of 28 degrees in the Jacksonville area, which is the reason Keesler said he lit the fireplace.

With temperatures expected to be in the 30s again Thursday night, Keeler had a warning for other families.

"Just be careful with your fireplace. Obviously, when you're dealing with fire, anything can happen," Keesler said.