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Martinsburg family displaced by morning blaze

December 14, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A fire that began on a kitchen stove where a pot of french fries was cooking Thursday morning all but destroyed a home in Martinsburg, and displaced five adults and two children who reportedly were asleep when it started, fire officials said.

No one was injured, but the family residing at 641 State Circle lost a cat, which did not make it out of the three-bedroom home, said Greg Hoover, fire investigator with the Martinsburg Fire Department.

City firefighters were dispatched to an appliance fire at 6:11 a.m. Hoover said the flames from the stove ignited wood cabinets above it, then spread throughout the kitchen, living and dining rooms and hallway leading to the bedrooms. The remaining areas not burned received significant smoke and heat damage, he said.

"It's pretty much a total loss," Hoover said.

Marjorie Jones, the owner of the property, and at least five other family members were receiving assistance from the American Red Cross, Hoover said.

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The home was insured, and Hoover said the fire appeared to be accidental in nature. Hoover said the flames did not go through the roof of the one-story home and were extinguished in about 20 minutes.

The home's smoke detector was working, but Hoover said the fire was discovered before it activated.

While the family escaped injury, Hoover reminded other area residents to closely monitor stoves, space heaters and other potentially flammable devices and not leave them unattended.

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