Cumberland Times-News

January 24, 2014

Keyser house fire displaces family of five, none hurt

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— KEYSER, W.Va. — A family of five was left homeless when fire swept through their Linden Street residence before dawn Friday. The incident followed a late Thursday afternoon fire that damaged a residence in the first block of Chestnut Street, according to the Mineral County 911 Center that handled both calls for first responders.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Todd and Teresa Simpson and their three children lost all of their possessions in the 4:20 a.m. fire at the Linden Street residence. Immediate assistance was provided to the family by the American Red Cross and donations were being made to the family on a website at http://www.gofundme.com/6fv1e4e.

Keyser and numerous allied volunteer fire departments responded after a 911 call alerted the emergency center to the incident.

“The family was asleep when Mr. Simpson became aware of a fire in a closet off a second-floor bedroom. He then got everybody out without incident,” said Keyser Volunteer Fire Chief Taylor Stewart.

First-arriving firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the second floor. The volunteers braved extreme cold with the air temperatures at 2 degrees and wind chill readings more than minus 20.

“For as bad as the cold and the hazards were, the volunteers did an excellent job,” said Stewart.

Investigation into the cause of the fire determined the fire was accidental and related to electric radiant heating, said the chief.

Damages were estimated at up to $200,000 to the two-story frame residence and $50,000 in contents. The property owned by the family was insured.

The fire was confined to the second floor where it originated. Water and smoke damage occurred to the first floor as well as to an attached two-bay garage.

More than two dozen volunteer firefighters and two EMS volunteer companies re-sponded. Units were on the scene for three hours and were called back to the location when a rekindle occurred at about 9:45 a.m. Minor damage occurred in the rekindle and firefighters were there for a half-hour.

Thursday’s fire at the Glen Shumaker residence at 77 Chestnut St. was caused by a torpedo heater that ignited an outside wall where frozen pipes were being thawed, said Stewart.

The fire caused an estimated $15,000 in damages but the family was able to remain in the dwelling.

One adult at home at the time was not injured.

The fire was first reported at about 5 p.m. by a person who observed smoke in the area of the residence.

Keyser firefighters were assisted by numerous allied volunteer companies during the incident.

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