Mansfield Fire and EMS responded to a call reporting a garage fire at 35 Jacob St. around 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
They came to find the fire had been isolated by the son of the family living at the residence. Mansfield fire chief Neal Boldrighini said that the fire started in the central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
"Lucky for us and lucky for them, the home owner's son was able to knock it down in the canister with a chemical fire extinguisher," he said.
Boldrighini added that the damage was minimal. He said the apparent cause was embers getting into the system and catching trough a wind trap.
"There was a small extension [from the source of the fire] in some areas, but for the most part were able to resolve the issue using thermal indicators. We did have to take a little bit of the ceiling down."
The canister in a central heating system is the heat source. Coupled with lit material, Boldrighini said the fire could have easily traveled throughout the system and could have caused major damage.
"Unfortunately with the HVAC system, the fire can travel throughout he house," he said. "It's really only PVC piping that connects the system from room to room."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating system fires, or HVAC fires, were responsible for an estimated 57,100 home structure fires which resulted in 490 civilian deaths, 1,530 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage in 2010 alone. These fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires.