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Fire Marshal Investigating Barn's Use After Blaze

Amount of appliances contributed to cause, fire marshal says.

The is investigating whether a Springs barn that caught fire on Sunday afternoon had the proper permits for an apartment.

According to a police report, a man called 911 when he saw thick black smoke coming from at about 3:40 p.m. The Springs Fire Department extinguished the blaze, that investigators said started in the refrigerator.

"It started in the refrigerator, at the bottom, the pump possibly," Chief Fire Marshal Dave Browne on Tuesday. "That's the origin. We don't know what caused it to catch fire."

Part of the issue, he said, was having too many appliances plugged into one surge charger.

"We're still looking into whether it was a legal studio apartment," Browne said.

Browne said apartments that are not properly permitted through the town can be dangerous. "If it's done without going through the proper channels, a lot of safety issues can be overlooked, as far as smoke detectors, electrical, things the buildings weren't designed for, things not up to code," he said.

The owner of the property, which police said was John Wood, had been fishing when he got the call about the fire. He reportedly uses the apartment and had turned off the appliances before he left earlier that day.

As for the damage, he said the heat spread to the rest of the contents, damaging that area of the room. Heat and smoke damage spread throughout the apartment.

Wood could not be reached for comment.

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