Home left uninhabitable; overloaded outlet may be cause
By Amber Marra -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- A fire charred the top floor of a two-story house at 410 N. Massanutten St. and shut down part of U.S. 11 Monday morning.
Emergency officials responded at about 9 a.m. to a "heavy fire" that was mostly in one of the top corners of the house, according to Strasburg firefighter Tom Frazier.
James Callahan, 35, said that his parents own the house, and that the fire started in his room due to an overloaded electrical outlet, though Frazier said no official cause for the fire could be determined at the scene.
"I heard the popping and crackling of electricity and went upstairs to check on it, and the next thing I knew there was a fire in my room," Callahan said.
He added that a lamp that was turned off and a heater were plugged into the outlet at the time of the fire.
Callahan and his mother, father, wife, and a friend all lived in the house, which was at one point divided into apartments but is now a single-family home.
All of the human occupants made it out of the building unharmed. The family's five dogs also escaped, but Callahan was still concerned about his three cats, which were all on the top level at the time of the blaze.
"Those cats are like my children," he said.
Both lanes of U.S. 11 were closed off between Crystal Lane and Va. 55 while the fire was being contained. The road was reopened by 11:40 a.m.
The fire rekindled at about 1:30 p.m. after some of the insulation in the attic began smoldering, Frazier said. No additional damage was caused due to the rekindling and one lane of U.S. 11 was closed for about 20 minutes while it was contained.
Emergency officials from Strasburg, Middletown, Woodstock, Toms Brook, and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue all responded to the fire, according to Frazier. A total of 25 people were involved with getting the fire under control, including members from the Strasburg and Toms Brook volunteer rescue squads who assisted.
The home was uninhabitable after the blaze, and as a result members of the American Red Cross were assisting in housing the displaced family and pets, Frazier said.