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Judge's home damaged by fire near Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

December 16, 2010|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Judge John Yoder stands outside his home at 429 Prospect Avenue in Bolivar, WV after an early morning fire.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

BOLIVAR HEIGHTS, W.Va. — A Jefferson County judge was displaced from his Bolivar, W.Va., home Thursday morning after a fire started in the home's basement and quickly moved to the first floor.

Judge John Yoder said he has lived in the three-story house at 429 Prospect Ave. for 26 years. He said he would not be able to stay at the house Thursday night.

"I really don't know what happened," Yoder said.

He said he was getting ready to walk his dog before going to work when he realized his house was on fire.

"I just heard something explode," said Yoder, who is a former West Virginia state senator.

Yoder said he was looking for his border collie/German shepherd mix, Roxie, but couldn't find her through the smoke. He had to run outside several times to get fresh air before he found her hiding in a room of the house.

After the dog was safe and sound, a neighbor took her to a local pet store to have her bathed to get the smoke smell out of her coat, Yoder said.

Friendship Fire Co. Assistant Chief Scott Biller said dispatchers received the call at 7 a.m. When they got to the scene, firefighters saw heavy fire coming from the basement and first floor.

"The basement was fairly well involved on our arrival," and flames were spreading on the first floor, Biller said.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

Biller said the cause of the fire was under investigation., and he  probably wouldn't know the amount of financial damage for some time.

Biller said water from a hydrant had to be supplemented with water from tankers to battle the blaze. The hydrant was about 900 feet from the house.

Water from the hoses caused the roads to freeze in places.

Fire companies from Maryland and West Virginia responded to fight the blaze. They were leaving the scene by 10 a.m.

Yoder is a Circuit Court judge of the 23rd Judicial Circuit, comprised of Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

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