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W.Va. man survives home collapse

July 10, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. --A Jefferson County man was "very lucky" to survive after part of his home collapsed Friday night and buried him in about 7 feet of debris, Citizens Fire Co. President Ronald Fletcher said Saturday.

The man, who was in his 60s, was taken to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center after emergency personnel worked for about three hours to free him from the residence at 1003 Westside Lane, beginning about 7 p.m., according to Fletcher.

Fletcher said the man's injuries were not life-threatening.

He did not know the victim's name.

The exact cause of the collapse was unknown, Fletcher said.

At home by himself, the man was on the second floor when part of it gave way and he went down with it, Fletcher said.

He was able to call for help because the landline telephone in the home was within reach amid the debris, which trapped him, Fletcher said.

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There is no mobile phone service in the rural area, which is near the Virginia state line off Kabletown Road, Fletcher said.

Because the home's structural integrity was compromised, Fletcher said rescuers had to brace for the possibility of additional collapse as they uncovered the man.

All of Jefferson County's fire departments eventually responded to the scene and the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Fire Department's special operations unit also assisted, Fletcher said. The Mount Weather (Va.) Fire and Rescue also responded, Fletcher said.

The rescue was completed without incident and the last personnel cleared the scene about midnight, Fletcher said.

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