Man loses home in fire

December 12, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

ROHRERSVILLE - A Rohrersville-area man lost his home, its furnishings and four pets Saturday morning in a fire that fire officials believe was sparked by a wood stove.

No one was at home when the fire started at 19440 Elk Ridge Drive, said Sgt. Eric Gray of Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Co.

The owner came home and called for help, said Gray, who said fire officials are blaming a pile of wood stacked too close to a wood stove for the blaze.

The call came in just before 10:20 a.m., he said.

Owner Kevin McDonnell, 48, said he had been gone only about 20 minutes when he came home and discovered the fire.


He said he tried to go in to save his pets but ended up singeing his facial hair.

"When I opened the door, it blew me out through the doorway," said McDonnell, who said he didn't go to the hospital for treatment.

A dog, a cat and two birds were killed in the blaze, according to daughter Christina Lilly, who lives nearby.

"That's what upset him the most. He lost his babies. That's what he called them," she said.

The fire caused an estimated $115,000 damage to the 1 1/2-story home and its contents, Gray said.

Lilly said her father lived alone with his pets in the home just a few houses away from her home and her sister's home.

She said she invited him to stay with her and her husband but didn't know if he would.

Lilly said her father isn't the kind of man who'll ask for or accept help.

"He likes to help other people," she said.

In a telephone conversation Saturday evening, McDonnell said he was fine, considering the circumstances, and didn't need anything.

He said he was still dealing with all that had happened and hadn't decided if he would rebuild his home.

Firefighters were at the home until just after 1:30 p.m., Gray said.

Boonsboro, Rohrersville and Sharpsburg firefighters assisted, he said.

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