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No one injured in fire at mayor's home

By J.R. Williams - jrwilliams@nvdaily.com

BOYCE -- A Monday afternoon fire heavily damaged the home of Boyce Mayor Franklin Roberts.

Clarke County firefighters were called to 47 Greenway Ave. South at about 4:30 p.m., where they arrived to find Roberts' home engulfed in flames, said Boyce Volunteer Fire Company Chief Brian Conrad.

Roberts said he and his wife were home at the time of the fire, but that they both escaped unharmed. Roberts said he was in his living room when he first smelled smoke.

Roberts said the fire started in the basement of the home he has lived in for decades. A specific cause of the fire was unclear Monday afternoon.

"We had pretty good fire in the basement when we got here," Conrad said.

Firefighters stationed a ladder truck on Greenway Avenue South, which is at a higher elevation than the home, and sprayed water from above for close to an hour. Crews pushed charred furniture and other items outside. The home's windows were smashed.

Although the home suffered major damage, it remained standing. The rear of the structure appeared to take the worst damage.

Roberts' home is across the street from the Roseville Downs subdivision, where a group of residents watched firefighters work Monday afternoon. Although Roberts lives close to his neighbors, no other houses were affected by the blaze.

Mack Meadows, of Boyce, was taking his daughter home from day care when the fire broke.

"We were driving by, and the sirens went off," he said. "[Firetrucks] were right behind me. ... You could see the smoke through the trees. There were 10 or so people out front, but I just came back to make sure everybody was OK."

Roberts was elected in 2008 to a four-year term as mayor. A previous home he lived in also burned, he said.

The blaze was the second major fire in Clarke County in as many weeks. On Aug. 15, more than 100 firefighters responded to Berryville Graphics when a baler exploded, causing heavy interior damage to a portion of the printing plant.

The Boyce Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, along with the John H. Enders Volunteer Fire Company responded to the blaze Monday, with assistance from Frederick County's Millwood Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company.

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