Christmas fire displaces family

A Christmas evening fire displaced a family on Bobcat Lane near Strasburg, said Bill Streett, operations chief for Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue.

Crews responded to 146 Bobcat Lane at approximately 7:49 on Christmas evening.

“The initial call was dispatched as a residential house fire,” Streett said. “My understanding is the occupants arrived back home after they were gone and discovered the smell of smoke and, after an investigation, determined there was a fire in the attic portion of the house. Crews were initially able to contain the fire to the attic area and spent a significant amount of time performing overhaul operations to make sure the fire hadn’t spread to other parts of the house.”

Responders had the fire under control after about an hour, Streett said.

He said a wood stove was responsible for the fire, which spread to the home’s attic from the chimney.

“There was obviously a condition with the chimney that allowed the fire to spread to the attic area,” he said. “The origin was in the attic space where the chimney was adjacent to that part of the roof. They had some combustibles that were stored in the attic that were in close proximity to the chimney and the fire had escaped the chimney.”

Streett estimated the damage to the dwelling at around $25,000. The family was displaced and offered Red Cross assistance, but opted to stay with family while repairs are made.

Streett said the fire is a good example of why his department stresses the importance of proper inspection and cleaning of chimneys, especially in households where wood stoves or fireplaces serve as a main heat source.

Responding departments included Star Tannery Fire Department, Strasburg Fire Department, Toms Brook Fire Department, North Mountain Fire and Rescue, Middletown Fire and Rescue, Woodstock Fire Department, Strasburg Rescue and Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue as well as Frederick County Fire and Rescue.

Streett noted that so many departments responded because of the blaze’s location. Hydrants were not available, so several tankers were dispatched to “meet the water supply needs of the incident.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com.