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W.Va. house fire under investigation

September 07, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The state Fire Marshal's office is being asked to help determine the cause of a fire Sunday afternoon that resulted in about $650,000 damage to a three-story home on Kabletown Road and its contents, a fire official said.

The fire marshal's office is being asked to help investigate the fire because it has been difficult to pinpoint the cause and because of the extent of the loss, said Ed Smith, chief of the Independent Fire Co.

The fire, which was reported about 5:05 p.m., caused about $400,000 damage to the house and about $250,000 damage to contents inside, including antiques, Smith said.

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Firefighters battled the blaze in intense heat and were on the scene for about five hours, Smith said.

The construction of the home caused the intense heat, said Smith, who estimated the structure is at least 100 years old.

There were no wooden studs in the walls of the house, which meant the plaster walls "just held the heat," said Smith, adding that firefighters cut holes in the roof to let the heat escape.

The house, at 4167 Kabletown Road, is owned by Mervin Rodrick, Smith said.

Rodrick was home, left and came back when he noticed the fire, Smith said.

Rodrick rescued a dog from inside and escaped, Smith said.

When firefighters arrived, fire was blowing out a front and back door on the first floor, Smith said. It later spread to the second floor and an attic, Smith said.

About 97 firefighters from three states battled the blaze, Smith said.

The home, which Smith said may be salvageable, is about four miles from the intersection with W.Va. 9.

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