2017-05-03 / Front Page

Hedgesville family escapes house fire

by Kate Evans

This home on Householder Road near Hedgesville was completely destroyed by fire last Wednesday night. photo by Robert Hoopengardner This home on Householder Road near Hedgesville was completely destroyed by fire last Wednesday night. photo by Robert Hoopengardner Area firefighters from four counties responded to a house fire near Hedgesville late last Wednesday night that completely destroyed a home and endangered a family. The family was able to escape the fire due to having working fire alarms.

The fire call came in to Morgan County 911 Dispatch Center at 11:06 p.m. on April 26 for a home in the 400 block of Householder Road which is off River Road, said Sarah Hogbin, Morgan County 911 public information officer. The caller said that people were entrapped in the basement, but the occupants got out of the burning house before firefighters arrived. The family’s dog died in the fire.

The first units on the scene were from Hancock Volunteer Fire Company. Hancock Fire Chief Robert Hoopengardner said the whole front of the house was completely involved in fire, with heavy fire inside, when his crew arrived. Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jami Clark assumed command at 11:30 p.m., Hogbin said.

Clark said that the guys did a great job of knocking the fire down quickly. The fire was under control at 11:40 p.m. The house had cedar siding which they removed to make sure there was no rekindling of the fire. Firefighters encountered no difficulties fighting the fire and all the companies worked well together.

There were no injuries to firefighters or to the home’s residents, he said. One male patient was transported to War Memorial Hospital.

The home was a total loss and the American Red Cross was contacted for the family.

Resident’s story

Home resident Brian Conner told state fire marshals that without working fire alarms he and his family may not have made it out alive. Conner said the family was sleeping when he heard their fire alarms going off. He discovered a fire in the kitchen and immediately went to wake up his wife, granddaughter and a roommate. The family then safely escaped the house.

Conner noted that he also checks his smoke alarm batteries every six months. He allowed the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office to share his story on their Facebook page to encourage people to have working smoke alarms in their home.

Cause accidental

Assistant State Fire Marshal George Harms said that the cause of the house fire was accidental. The point of origin was the area of the stove in the kitchen.

Units from Berkeley Springs, Hancock, Great Cacapon, South Morgan, Hedgesville, Back Creek, Bedington and Orleans Volunteer Fire Companies along with the 167th Air Guard Unit, the Washington County Air Unit 25-1, Morgan County Emergency Medical Services and the Morgan County Deputy Reserves responded to the blaze.

Hogbin said the fire didn’t spread or endanger any other structures. Units cleared the scene at 1:33 a.m., Clark said.

Free smoke alarms

The State Fire Marshal’s Office hopes all residents will make sure that they have smoke alarms to keep their family safe. If they don’t have smoke alarms, they can call 1-844-216- 8286 to request free smoke alarms.

Chief Jami Clark encouraged people to check their smoke alarms monthly and to replace the batteries at time change in the spring and in the fall. He noted that the life span of a smoke alarm is 10 years.

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