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Taking a sauna takes a turn for the worse as fire breaks out

A relaxing stint in the sauna turned out to be a little more toasty than a St. Jacobs resident bargained for when the outbuilding burst into flames Monday afternoon.

The occupant escaped unharmed and damage is estimated at $500 for the shed-turned-sauna.

Woolwich fire chief Rick Pedersen says firefighters were on scene at Three Bridges Road for three hours to put out the fire and knock out walls that were still smoldering.

“He came out of the sauna because he could smell something. Then he saw what was happening on the roof, then he went up the laneway to phone 911,” Pedersen explained.

They’re looking into the cause of the fire, with all signs pointing to an improper use of the woodstove used to heat the sauna.

Firefighters responded from St. Jacobs, Conestogo and Elmira. Pedersen notes it’s protocol for three stations to respond to any structure fire.

“Any kind of woodstove there has to be proper clearances and when you have combustibles too close to the woodstove, that’s when you get fires.”

He explained a regular wood stove must have at least 18 inches of clearance between it – including flue pipes – and all combustibles, and the minimum was not met in this case.

Firefighters from Elmira, St. Jacobs and Conestogo were on scene at 1880 Three Bridges Rd. for three hours on Monday afternoon after a sauna lit on fire while in use. The occupant escaped unharmed. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]

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