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Inside a scorched Delton home, after a crystal ball ignited it into flames

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 10:38 PM CST
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DELTON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Delton man lost a family heirloom and faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage after a crystal ball, according to authorities, started a fire in his home.

Monday afternoon, Kevin Ricks said he came home from work and discovered a fire in his living room. “It was pitch black, you couldn’t see anything, but there was a fire. You could see a fire easily,” he said.

He called 911, and the Delton Fire Department, among other crews, arrived on scene. According to the department, no one was hurt.

After an investigation, Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson determined the cause of the fire was from a glass crystal ball.

Ricks said he had the crystal ball for about two years, and it had been placed on a table inches away from the couch that caught on fire. Additionally, in the living room, a south-facing window covered a large portion of a wall.

“Ornaments such as glass balls, mirrors, even glass bottles, things of that nature can take an energy source such as a bright sunlight and direct it to a smaller pinpoint beam that creates heat,” Jorgenson explained.

“After the fire chief explained it, [I said] ‘Yeah that makes sense,’” Ricks said. “But you don’t think about it at the time. You think about it as a home decoration.”

Ricks told NBC15 he wanted to share his story so that others would learn from his experience. The chief says people should survey their surroundings and see what potential objects could be dangerous.

Ricks estimates $250,000 in damage, but standing in a house blackened by soot, he said some losses are harder to bear.

Pointing to a piano, Ricks said, “My son played [this]. That’s one of the things he wanted handed down to him, so this piano means a lot to us.” He explained, the piano is from the 1800s and has been in his family for decades.

Ricks, who lived in the house with his wife and two nephews, said his family is focused on the silver lining. They are staying at a hotel, thanks to his friends.

“When all is said is done, this is just stuff,” he said. “But the love and kindness that’s out there is what gives you the hope and [makes you] realize that life is good.”

Ricks also plans to rebuild his home and return by the end of the year.

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