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February 7, 2013

Six escape Henderson Ave. fire

House had no smoke alarms, officials say

CUMBERLAND — Six people escaped fire inside a Henderson Avenue residence Thursday morning despite not having smoke alarms that would have alerted them to the life threatening incident.

The Cumberland Fire De-partment responded to a reported structure fire at the John and Theresa Snyder residence at 217 Henderson Ave. at 4:42 a.m. The couple’s 15-year-old son and a 22-year-old family member and her two friends also escaped the residence without injury.

A family member discovered the fire and called 911.

The property damage was estimated by the department at $5,000 to the dwelling and a $1,000 loss in contents. The property, owned by Galen Bean, was insured but it was not known if the occupants had renters insurance.

Thirteen city firefighters under the direction of Capt. Bill Davis handled the incident. First-arriving firefighters found fire in the attic and reportedly brought it under control in 10 minutes.

The fire was determined to be accidental and attributed to wires arcing in the attic that ignited floor joists and insulation, according to Lt. W. Shannon Adams, city fire marshal.

“There were no operating smoke alarms present at the time of the fire,” said Cumberland Fire Chief Donnie Dunn. “The occupants were fortunate to become aware of the fire without smoke detectors.

“This incident could have been much worse. We stress to everyone to have operating smoke alarms. If you don’t have a smoke alarm, contact us. We can supply and install them if necessary,” said the chief.

The victims were provided immediate emergency assistance by the American Red Cross.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at jlalderton@times-news.com.

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