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Flames destroy log home

March 28, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

GERRARDSTOWN, W.VA. - Fire destroyed a two-story log house Sunday morning along Reunion Corner Road, where 35 firefighters worked for about four hours to extinguish the blaze, a fire official said.

Firefighters searched the burning structure, thinking someone might have been inside, said Rick Petry, chief of the South Berkeley Volunteer Fire Co.

No one was in the house, Petry said. It was determined that the owner of the house, Becky Palmer, was at a nursing home in Martinsburg.

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The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department found Palmer, who was the only person who lived in the house, Petry said.

The roof of the house collapsed shortly after firefighters began attacking the fire, and the structure was "very unsafe to be in or around," Petry said.

Firefighters did an exterior attack on the fire, working for about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control, Petry said.

Firefighters worked at the scene for about another three hours, Petry said.

The house was at 863 Reunion Corner Road, which turns off W.Va. 51 in Gerrardstown.

The house, which was about 800 feet from Reunion Corner Road, was about a half-mile from the W.Va. 51 intersection, Petry said.

Damage was estimated at $100,000.

Petry said he does not know what started the fire, which was reported about 7 a.m.

The fire was spotted by a passer-by, Petry said. The passer-by saw smoke and when that person investigated further, it was evident the house was on fire, Petry said.

Firefighters called for extra water tankers when they arrived at the scene, Petry said.

The state Fire Marshal's office will conduct an investigation to determine the cause, Petry said.

"This one will be hard to determine because it burned pretty bad," Petry said.

Based on its construction, the house was old, although Petry said he did not know the exact age.

Firefighters from Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department and the Back Creek Volunteer Fire Department helped fight the blaze, Petry said.

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