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Caregiver saves couple from blaze

February 03, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

Caregiver saves couple from blaze

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A couple was saved from their burning home Monday night when their caregiver awoke to the sound of a smoke detector.

Teresa Byrd, 48, was sleeping upstairs at 202 E. Moler Ave., when she heard the alarm and rushed downstairs.

"I came down the steps and I said, 'Ray, what's going on down here?' " Byrd said.

Ray Hudspith, who relies on a wheelchair, and his wife, Eloise, who has difficulty walking, were in the downstairs kitchen watching television.

"I saw flames coming out of the bathroom," Byrd said. "I called 911 and said, 'Let's get ... out of here.' "

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The Martinsburg Fire Department responded to the scene at about 9:15 p.m.

"We searched the house because we heard they were in there. But she already got them out the back door," said Capt. Brad Waldeck.

Byrd, who has been the couple's caretaker for two years, maneuvered Ray Hudspith's wheelchair out the back door ramp and helped Eloise Hudspith out of the house before firefighters arrived.

The couple and their dog were safely in Byrd's car while firefighters doused the flames.

The fire originated in the rear of the home, Waldeck said. Fire officials at the scene had not confirmed Monday night the cause of the fire or in which room the blaze began.

The Hudspiths' home is structurally sound, but not livable, Waldeck said. The first floor is damaged by the fire and the rest from smoke.

"We're going to have to find a place for them," Waldeck said.

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