Heater malfunction caused fire at model home in Berkeley County

October 22, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Firefighters battle a house fire at the Ridges of Tuscarora development off Lost Road west of Martinsburg, W.Va., on Sunday.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A malfunction in a wall-mounted heater caused a fire Sunday that destroyed a model home/office in the Ridges of Tuscarora development off Lost Road, Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Nichols said Monday

A woman who worked at the home off Soaring Eagle Way suffered first and second-degree burns on her right hand while trying to put the fire out, Nichols said. She was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg for treatment, Nichols said.

A Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department firefighter also was taken to the emergency room for an ankle injury that Nichols said he did not believe was major at this time.

Nichols said he was told the woman had opened the model home and turned on the heater and then subsequently discovered the fire. Nichols said the home was being leased by Dan Ryan Builders, but was away from the fire station and did not recall the owner's name.

Seven fire departments and about 40 firefighters from Berkeley County, W.Va., responded to the blaze at about 11:30 a.m., according to Hedgesville (W.Va.) Fire Department fire policeman Ike Canfield.

Flames were starting to come through the roof when crews arrived, Canfield said.

“We could tell it was in the attic. ... Once it got in the attic, it took off,” he said.

The two-story model home had an office for the home builder inside. A woman inside when the fire broke out reported it to authorities, Canfield said.

Fire officials remained on the scene until about 3:30 p.m., he said.

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