By Ryan Cornell
Officials from the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue count the six former occupants at 381 W. King St. in Strasburg as lucky to be alive.
John Collins, public information officer for the department, said the Cape Cod-style Strasburg residence was reported to be on fire at about 3:47 a.m. Monday. He said heavy smoke could be seen coming from the eave and said the fire was burning in the walls of the first floor, which then spread to the second floor.
He said there were no smoke detectors in the house.
"He [Fire Marshal David Ferguson] told me he had no idea how these people woke up and got out of the home," Collins said. "They were very fortunate in that regard."
Operations Chief Tim Williams, who was at the scene, said the fire started from the home's fireplace. He estimated the total damage to be between $50,000 and $75,000.
Collins said that Shenandoah County residents who don't have working smoke detectors in their home can call the department at 540-459-6167 and can arrange for batteries inserted or a new detector supplied.
He advised residents to make sure their chimneys are cleaned if they're using wood stoves, to be careful with disposing ashes and to remove anything flammable near space heaters.
The six occupants of the home, who are now displaced, were kept in the back of an ambulance during the incident to keep warm. They are being provided disaster relief assistance by the Top of Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Units assisting at the scene include the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue, the Strasburg Rescue Squad and the fire departments of Strasburg, Toms Brook, Middletown, Woodstock.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org