Family displaced; officials determine fire was accidental
Lt. Chris Jones, a Warren County career firefighter, picks up his gear Wednesday outside a home at 474 Kendrick Ford Road that was damaged by fire. Rich Cooley/Daily
By Linwood Outlaw III -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- A fire that started in the pantry of a two-story home on Wednesday morning has temporarily left a mother and her son without a place to live.
Warren County Fire and Rescue units responded to the blaze at 474 Kendrick Ford Road shortly before 10 a.m. Neighbors could see smoke coming from the roof before rescue squads arrived.
Firefighters entered the home through the front door and "knocked down the main body of fire" in a rear storage room, Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie says in a news release. No one was hurt.
The fire was under control within 10 minutes, but the home was left uninhabitable. "It was fairly significant [damage]. But, it didn't burn the house all the way down," Mabie said in a phone interview.
Capt. Raymond Cross, a Department of Fire and Rescue investigator, ruled the blaze as accidental, saying it was caused by an electrical malfunction in a cord leading to an air conditioner in the window. The fire was mostly limited to the storage room and kitchen, with smoke and heat damage throughout the residence. The home itself sustained about $25,000 worth of damage, Mabie said.
Daniel Roy, 21, who lives at the residence with his mother, Darlene, said he was in the basement with his girlfriend when the fire occurred.
"We don't know what time it started. We were asleep. The only reason we woke up was because our neighbor started kicking in the door," Daniel Roy said. "Actually, from what the fire department says, if it wasn't for her, we probably would have been worse off."
Damage to contents of the home is estimated at $20,000, Mabie said.
Darlene Roy, who owns the house, was not there when the fire started.
"It happened very quickly, because I left here at about 8:30 a.m. And, a little after 9:30 a.m., I was getting a call that the house was on fire," she said. "We got our pictures out. That's the biggest thing."
Despite the rough start to the day, the Roys had a picnic on their front lawn Wednesday afternoon with relatives, including some who drove up from Maryland. Everyone appeared to be in good spirits, clearly thankful that the fire didn't result in anything more tragic.
"Everything's fixable," Darlene Roy said, adding she and her son will be staying at her daughter's house for the time being. It may be one to two months before they can move back into the Kendrick Ford Road home, she said.
The Roys are also being assisted by the Warren County chapter of the Red Cross, Mabie said.