A fire originating from an older wood furnace combined with difficulty in summoning firefighters caused heavy damage to a Rykers Ridge home this week.

Bert Grimes was asleep Monday morning when a smoke detector and popping noises alerted him of the blaze in the 1850-era two-story stone structure on Rykers Ridge Road at about 6:30 a.m. Grimes, who did not have phone service, went to two neighbors’ homes before awakening someone to call for help and, by the time firefighters arrived, the blaze had about a 40-minute head start.

“It was a tough fire in an old house,” said Madison Township Fire Chief Robert Black. “There were some dead zones in the walls that were hard to get to and at one point we had to emergency evacuate all firefighters because the smoke changed colors indicative of a flashover. We had to get it cooled down before going back in.”

Grimes owned the home with a relative, Campbell Higbie, of Lexington. There was no insurance.

Madison Township and Rykers Ridge firefighters responded to the blaze as well as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, King’s Daughters’ EMS, Duke Energy and the Salvation Army.