Cumberland Times-News

January 17, 2013

Rekindled mattress sparks McCoole house fire

Two occupants treated for smoke inhalation

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— MCCOOLE — Two people were injured and taken by ambulance to Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, W.Va., following an accidental fire at a McCoole Drive residence early Thursday, according to the Allegany County 911 center.

Steven Markle and his wife, Rebecca Markle, were released after being treated for smoke inhalation, according to McCoole Volunteer Fire Department Chief Chuck Pearce. Steven Markle’s brother was outside the residence when firefighters arrived at the scene.

“He thought his brother and (his borther’s) wife were outside the residence but they were actually still inside in the back part of the house. We went in and walked them out to safety and their dog also walked out,” said Pearce, who directed the firefighting operation that involved about 30 volunteer firefighters. A cat also escaped the residence and was not injured.

The fire was caused by smoking materials that ignited a mattress. The occupants moved the mattress and box springs to the front porch and had extinguished the fire at that time. The fire rekindled about two hours later and was noticed by a passerby.

“They were very lucky that someone drove by and seen it. It’s hard to say how long it was burning. The fire actually woke them up,” said Pearce.

First-arriving firefighters on the scene at 12:13 a.m. found fire on the front porch and into a first-floor bathroom and entrance hallway. The fire extended from the first floor up to the attic and at the exterior to the carport roof and siding of the structure that was built in 1910, Pearce said.

The McCoole chief said the fire was confined to the front section of the residence although smoke damage was reported throughout the dwelling. Siding was extensively damaged by the fire that “blew out” a first-floor bathroom window and melted fixtures in the bathroom.

Damages in building and contents were estimated by Pearce at up to $55,000. The family is reportedly staying with relatives in the area.

Pearce said no working smoke detectors were found in the residence.

McCoole Volunteer Fire Department handled the call with assistance from Potomac firefighters and Keyser, Piedmont and Fountain (W.Va.) volunteer fire departments following alert at 12:06 a.m.

Keyser EMS took the injured couple to the hospital where they were released a couple of hours later.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated. The American Red Cross was notified along with the Potomac Edison Co.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at