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Fire destroys house

November 24, 2000

Fire destroys house



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. - After losing his home to fire Thursday, a West Virginia man expressed gratitude for the well-being of his family and the aid of those who helped them.

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"Must be the Thanksgiving spirit," John Rymer said Thursday evening from the Turf Motel in Charles Town, W.Va.

"You don't really expect it anymore. People still have it in their hearts, I guess," said Rymer, 48.

Rymer's house between Summit Point and the Virginia state line was destroyed Thursday after grease from a deep fryer caught fire, Independent Fire Co. Chief Ed Smith said.

It was the second time this year a house in Jefferson County had been destroyed from fire that started with a gas-fired cooker, Smith said.

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Gas-fired cookers such as grills or deep fryers need to be kept at least eight to 10 feet from the house, Smith said. Approximately five months ago a house in Bakerton was destroyed by fire from a gas grill.

Rymer was cooking a turkey on his deck shortly after 11 a.m. when grease caught fire and splattered, Smith said.

The grease fire ignited the deck and siding of the one-story rancher, Smith said. Wind drove the fire into the house.

Rymer had first-degree burns on his hand, a cut on his foot and suffered smoke inhalation, Smith said. He was treated and released from Jefferson Memorial Hospital on Thursday afternoon.

Rymer's wife, daughter, two grandchildren and a guest at the home escaped uninjured, Smith said. The family's dog also was unharmed.

"Things will work out somehow. We got the most important thing. We got the family. We've got some good-hearted people out there," Rymer said.

The Rymers had moved into the house less than two months ago from northern Pennsylvania and still had much of their belongings in boxes. Neighbors salvaged what they could from the house and covered it with plastic to protect it from the weather, Rymer said.

Someone called the fire department when they saw the fire because the fire had knocked out Rymer's telephone.

Another neighbor, Mike Del-Colle, talked to Rymer's wife, got them motel rooms and arranged for the Rymers to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant in Martinsburg, W.Va.

"They wouldn't even accept payment for the meal," Rymer said. "I was really impressed with the way people just sort of came out of everywhere to help. They've got my thanks and gratitude," he said.

Rymer, who has homeowner's insurance, said he is expecting a call from the American Red Cross on Friday morning to help the family further.

Approximately 40 firefighters responded from Citizens, Independent and Blue Ridge Mountain fire companies in West Virginia and from Blue Ridge Mountain and John Enders fire companies in Virginia.

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