2017-07-19 / Front Page

Cause unknown in fire that destroyed home

by Kate Evans


Area firefighters responded to a July 12 fire that destroyed a Berkeley Springs home on Shade Lane off Mountain Run Road. photo by Orleans Volunteer Fire Company Area firefighters responded to a July 12 fire that destroyed a Berkeley Springs home on Shade Lane off Mountain Run Road. photo by Orleans Volunteer Fire Company Area firefighters responded to a late evening fire last Wednesday that destroyed a home east of Berkeley Springs.

The fire call came in to Morgan County 911 Dispatch at 10:05 p.m. on July 12 for 238 Shade Lane off Mountain Run Road. Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company Assistant Chief D.J. Zahnow, who was the incident commander, said that fire and emergency services units were dispatched at 10:09 p.m.

Zahnow said in a press release that he responded to the fire from his residence and arrived on the scene at 10:17 p.m. to find a fully involved fire. Berkeley Springs Engine 12 was the first engine to arrive on scene at 10:21 p.m. and began working to extinguish the fire.

The homeowners’ daughter who lives next door was the 911 caller. She said that her mother was out of town with friends in Morgantown when the fire broke out, Zahnow said. The daughter had come outside with her dog and she smelled smoke. As she walked to the front of her home she immediately noticed the fire in her mother’s home and called 911.

Zahnow said where the fire originated in the two-story single family dwelling is undetermined. The fire did not spread from the home or endanger any other structures. The home is a total loss. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, he said. The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted, but decided they didn’t need to respond, Zahnow expected that the insurance company will send an investigator to the scene at some later date.

Fire and rescue units that responded to the blaze included Berkeley Springs, South Morgan, Great Cacapon, Hedgesville, Hancock, Orleans, Clear Spring, Reynolds Store and Gainesboro Volunteer Fire Companies along with Morgan County Emergency Medical Services. Fire crews were on the scene until around 2:30 a.m.

Units responded again to the fire scene early the next morning around 8 a.m. Zahnow said it wasn’t a rekindle, but that the neighbor saw smoke coming from the debris. When their crew got there it was just smoke, and they wet down what remained of the structure.

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