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Vacant farmhouse burns north of Charles Town

February 08, 2008

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Workers cutting copper pipe inside a vacant farmhouse off Keyes Ferry Road caused a fire in the structure Thursday afternoon, according to a fire official.

There were plans to tear down the house and when it caught fire, owner J. Russell Fritts decided to let the house burn down, said Ed Smith, chief of the Independent Fire Co.

There already was significant damage to the house by then, including the collapse of the roof, Smith said.

The workers cutting copper pipe already had left the house when the fire started, Smith said.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 2:20 p.m.

Firefighters have been to the house numerous times before for fires, which often were attributed to faulty fireplaces in the house, which dated to about 1890, Smith said.

The house was behind Shendandoah Lanes off U.S. 340 north of downtown Charles Town.

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