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NEW FRANKLIN -- Firefighters are still winding down from a busy Christmas in Summit County.

Crews responded to a pair of house fires both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day -- one of them destroying a home.

New Franklin Fire Chief Steve Leslie says the Christmas Eve blaze burned on Linger Drive. A passerby saw the fire on the side of the home and knocked on the door to alert those inside who had no idea there was a fire.

"They were having Christmas Eve, were just sitting down to dinner, had a fire in the fire place," Chief Leslie says. "He went outside, looked at the side of the house, and saw the side of the house was on fire."

The five people inside all made it out safely, but the damage inside the home was extensive.

Heat inside the masonry fireplace ignited the wood frame of the house, underscoring the importance of fireplace cleaning and inspection by a professional.

The Christmas day fire was in the 6100 block of Renninger Road. It started outside of the home.

"That fire was actually a result of some sort of combustibles being places in a refuse container that was stored close to the home," Chief Leslie says.

Fire did damage to an attic over the garage, but the house was spared.

Chief Leslie says there are steps homeowners can make to stay safe this winter season.

"A lot of these things are preventable. We've done a good job across the country in reducing the number of fires."

Both homes did have working smoke detectors.

Earlier this year, the City of New Franklin got a $94,000 fire prevention grant. Chief Leslie says his hope is to use some of that money to offer new smoke detectors to every home next year.

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