Bentonville woman escapes from house fire

Awakened by a smoke alarm, a woman escaped a structure fire at her Bentonville home on Tuesday evening.

A release from the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services states that the fire occurred at 100 Windy Hill Court and the department was alerted around 7:52 p.m. Tuesday.

Investigators from the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office reported that one occupant began cooking with grease on the stove while the other occupant, a 79-year-old woman, slept.

“The occupant cooking became distracted and left the home, leaving the cooking appliance in the on position,” the release states.

The sleeping woman heard a smoke alarm sound in the home and self-evacuated. She was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and was later taken to Warren Memorial Hospital.

The release states that firefighters were able to bring the “significant” fire under control quickly, but Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico said the building was old and the fire spread to many concealed areas through the ceiling and wall assembly.

“It was originally an old school building for the Browntown area and was converted into a home,” he said. “It’s been in the family for quite some time.”

According to Warren County GIS data, the building was constructed in 1891.

Maiatico said the South Warren, Rivermont, Front Royal, Linden and Chester Gap fire departments responded to the fire along with Warren County Fire and Rescue and the Fire Marshal’s office. He said the last unit cleared the scene at 11:44 p.m.

“We had to spend an extended period of time ensuring that we had successfully extinguished the fire in all of the concealed spaces,” he said. “It was a labor-intensive fire.”

While the fire was concentrated in the kitchen and dining room area, he said it caused significant heat and smoke damage to the rest of the home.

Maiatico estimated that the fire caused around $180,000 in damage to the building and it’s now considered not habitable. He said the two residents, a mother and adult son, were offered Red Cross assistance but have opted to stay with family in the area.

The Department of Fire and Rescue Services stressed the importance of keeping vigilant when cooking with high heat and keeping smoke alarms in working order. Maiatico said the department’s smoke alarm program can provide smoke alarms and installation to community members.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or