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Man burned in home fire near Hedgesville

July 23, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - A 34-year-old Berkeley County man was flown to a Baltimore hospital Tuesday afternoon for burns to his face and hands after apparently causing a fire that destroyed his home, according to a preliminary investigation by the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department.

Jason Payne of 3165 Hammonds Mill Road, near Hedgesville, W.Va., was in stable condition at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Bedington Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Thomas Gorman said the victim's burns were life-threatening because of the potential for infection and swelling.

A family member told emergency officials that the victim had been drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes before the fire started in the living room of his mobile home, Gorman said.

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"He had told a family member that he had probably fallen asleep ... with a lit cigarette," Gorman said.

The fire was reported at 1:38 p.m. and emergency dispatchers reported an individual was trapped inside, Gorman said.

When emergency officials arrived at the home, the victim was found standing in the driveway and the mobile home was engulfed in flames, Gorman said.

Though still standing, "the trailer was a total loss," Gorman said.

Fire responders did not see any smoke detectors in the home, Gorman said.

Firefighters from Bedington were joined by personnel from Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Co., Berkeley County's ambulance authority, and the county's homeland security and emergency management office.

Gorman said the West Virginia Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire.

Gorman said the last emergency response unit left the scene just before 3 p.m. He estimated 35 firefighters responded.

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