By Joe Beck
MOUNT JACKSON -- Fire partially destroyed a Montvue Avenue house and injured an occupant shortly after noon on Thursday.
Firefighters from Shenandoah County, Mount Jackson, Edinburg, Woodstock and New Market responded to the blaze at 143 Montvue Avenue. An occupant of the house, identified as Ronnie Zerkel by sources at the scene, was taken to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.
Aaron Miller, commander at the scene and a firefighter/EMT with Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue, said the the house was rendered uninhabitable. He said the cause of the fire was undetermined and is still under investigation.
"We had to go into defensive mode first due to the extent of the fire in the attic area," Miller said in describing the scene when firefighters arrived.
Miller said the fire was first reported at 12:12 p.m. and the first firefighters arrived less than five minutes later. They brought the fire under control in about an hour, he said.
Miller added that the garage, kitchen, dining room, and living room were a total loss.
"We salvaged the northern part of the house and basement," Miller said.
Miller said firefighters found Zerkel outside the house when they arrived and treated him at the scene.
A neighbor who identified himself only as "from Hovatter farm" about a half mile away said he noticed "a lot of smoke" rising from the site.
"The flames could be seen from the farm," he said.
Zerkel co-owns a local hardware store that has been in the family since the 1940s.
The store manager, David Miller, said Zerkel is semi-retired.
"Ronnie is a good guy, well known in the community and beyond and been very active in a lot of civic organizations," Miller said. "I j just hope the recovery process moves very smoothly for him."
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org