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Duplex fire displaces Martinsburg family

February 28, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Three people were displaced by a Saturday morning fire at a duplex at 106 S. Kentucky Ave. in Martinsburg, said Greg Hoover, chief fire investigator for the Martinsburg Fire Department.

The fire was reported Saturday at 8:01 a.m. by a neighbor, Hoover said.

Three people who lived in the side of the duplex affected by the fire were not home at the time of the fire, Hoover said. The other side of the duplex was vacant, he said.

Denny Starliper, 56, Delma Shew, 51, and her son, David Shew, 23, had lived in the home, Hoover said. Volunteers from the American Red Cross were on hand to assist the family, he said.

The fire caused extensive damage to the first floor and traveled up an exterior wall to the second floor, where there was extensive heat and smoke damage, Hoover said.

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While there were no firefighter or civilian injuries, multiple family pets, including two dogs, four cats and several guinea pigs, were killed, Hoover said.

The fire was caused by combustible materials -- bags and boxes of clothing -- that were placed on top of a natural gas floor furnace, Hoover said.

Firefighters from Martinsburg, Baker Heights and Bedington responded to the fire, Hoover said. The Berkeley County Ambulance Authority and an air unit from Washington County also responded, he said.

The last units cleared the scene at 12:45 p.m., Hoover said.

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