Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 8, 2014

Fire destroys Pleasant Valley Road home

Property owner injured attempting to extinguish blaze, fire official says

CUMBERLAND — A  property owner was injured after fire erupted inside his Pleasant Valley Road residence late Saturday morning, according to the Allegany County 911 center.

The fire began just before 11 a.m. at the Joseph A. and Joanne D. Miltenberger property at 13800 Pleasant Valley Road, located near the entrance to the Rocky Gap State Park campground.

The two-story structure reportedly occupied by Miltenberger’s son was declared a total loss, according to Lt. Josh Reike of the Flintstone Volunteer Fire Department.

Reike said Joseph Milltenberger was injured while attempting to extinguish the fire. He was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center by LaVale Rescue Squad for treatment of apparently minor injuries.

“The family had a garden hose and a fire extinguisher and were trying to put the fire out when firefighters first arrived,” said Reike, who said Baltimore Pike Volunteer Fire Department conducted the fire operation.

“We conducted a limited interior attack for about 15 minutes before the roof began to collapse and we pulled everybody out due to safety issues,” said Reike.

Firefighters were also hampered by freezing temperatures and not having access to fire hydrants in the area. The hydrants had been shut off due to recent severe temperatures.

“We had to do a tanker shuttle due to the limited water hydrant system. We laid line to the house for about 400 feet. We probably used 40,000 gallons of water,” he said.

The property loss was estimated preliminarily at about $65,000 in the building and its contents.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. Reinke said the fire appeared to be accidental in nature.

Jerry Sloan and his wife Jean of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., were driving along Pleasant Valley Road when they observed white smoke in the area. “There was a lot of smoke and as we got closer we could see flames. It was fully involved,” he said.

First-responding firefighters drove past Sloan just seconds later.

More than four dozen volunteer firefighters responded to the scene along with the Allegany County Fire Police. Baltimore Pike, Bedford Road, Flintstone, Bowman’s Addition, District 16, Bowling Green, Orleans, LaVale, Midland, Ridgeley and Bedford were among the various fire departments that responded to the fire.

Flintstone ambulance also responded to the scene, according to the 911 center that handled communications throughout the incident from the time of the initial alert.

It was late afternoon before all the fire units cleared the scene.

Reinke commended his fellow firefighters for their response and work. “We couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said.

DNR Police and Potomac Edison personnel also responded.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at jlalderton@times-news.com.

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