House fire caused by furnace

A malfunctioning furnace appears to be the cause of a house fire last weekend at a residence in Branch County’s Batavia Township.

Bronson Fire chief Scott Wilber said the fire was discovered by a passerby, who noticed flames coming from a basement window shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday in the 100 block of Butcher Road.

No one was home at the time of the fire, Wilber said, noting that fire crews arrived to find smoke coming from the roofline and flames coming from the basement windows. The fire had burned through the first floor and into the second story just above the furnace.

Damage is estimated at $175,000 to the structure and $25,000 for the contents.

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