One person dies in farmhouse blaze

Firefighters stand outside the rear of home at 1328 Pepper Road where one person died on Tuesday morning. The victim's identity has not been released. Rich Cooley/Daily

One person died and a firefighter was injured during a farmhouse fire near Mount Jackson on Tuesday.

Bill Streett, operations chief of Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue, confirmed the fire claimed the life of an individual who has yet to be identified, and that a firefighter was transported to the hospital for observation after sustaining injuries when the structure’s ceiling collapsed. Streett said the firefighter is doing fine and his injuries were not critical.

Crews initially responded at 7:13 a.m. Tuesday when a neighbor called in to report a fire at 1328 Pepper Road. Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire in the two-story, 3,000 square-foot farmhouse.

“Crews began attacking the fire and performing rescue operations simultaneously,” Streett said. “The fire was contained within about 45 minutes. There was one occupant (the deceased) of the residence who was located shortly after the fire was contained on the first floor of the house and right now we’re in the investigation mode.”

Tim Williams, chief of Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue, explained that two Conicville volunteer firefighters were first on the scene, but they lacked the training certification required to make entry into the building. They instead readied equipment to fight the fire from outside the structure.

Edinburg volunteer firefighter Brian Johnson inspects the roofline after firefighters sprayed the attic area with foam. Rich Cooley/Daily

Career firefighters stationed in Conicville staff the station from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday and were not available at the time of this fire.


“Right now our career staff throughout the county is doing the best it can,” Williams said. “We don’t have enough career or volunteer staff to staff every station throughout the county. Obviously, if Conicville and a cadre of volunteer folks that are trained, we wouldn’t even talk about putting career people in there. That’s part of the reason why we’re seeing these type of events. We probably used 65 to 70 percent of our total resources in Shenandoah County to fight this one fire.”

Streett said the blaze was primarily located in the structure’s first floor kitchen and living room area but that it did extend to the second floor and the roof.

The operations chief couldn’t place a dollar figure on the damage caused by the fire. He said the structure is still standing but did sustain “heavy smoke and heat damage.”

Responding to the scene were about 45 members of fire crews from Conicville, Mount Jackson, New Market, Orkney Springs, Edinburg, Woodstock, Toms Brook and Timberville. Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue, the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and Woodstock Fire and Rescue also responded.

Woodstock firefighter Lt. Aaron Sigler looks outside an upstairs window after fighting the blaze from inside the farmhouse. Rich Cooley/Daily

Streett said that the rural location of the residence posed a challenge to firefighters, but that crews brought in an adequate water supply via tanker trucks from a nearby pond.

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

Edinburg volunteer firefighter Lt. Chris Tusing leans on a ladder at the rear of the burned-out home. Rich Cooley/Daily

Conicville volunteer firefighter Alan Hoyle inspects damage to the home. Rich Cooley/Daily

Firefighters stand outside the rear of the farmhouse where one person died. Rich Cooley/Daily

Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue operations chief Bill Streett, left, and fire çhief Tim Williams, right, walk out of the back porch of the farmhouse. Rich Cooley/Daily

Woodstock volunteer firefighter Bobby Funkhouser rinses down Shenandoah County firefighter/EMT Michael Eye after fighting the early morning fire. Rich Cooley/Daily

Firefighters stand around a pile of air bottles outside the fire scene in Mount Jackson on Tuesday morning. Rich Cooley/Daily