Dog alerts woman, children to house fire

STRASBURG – A woman and three, young children escaped a house fire south of town Friday afternoon thanks to a family dog.

STRASBURG – A woman and three young children escaped a house fire south of town Friday afternoon, thanks to a family dog.

Multiple fire and rescue agencies responded to a report of a structure fire on Copp Road near Strasburg shortly before 3 p.m. Travis Painter, a firefighter at the scene with the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue, said crews arrived to see a significant amount of flames coming from the front, left corner of the house. Firefighters also saw smoke coming from the attic. Crews entered the house to find fire spread across most of the first floor, Painter said.

“But they got in there quick and knocked it out,” Painter said. “Nothing else got any farther.”

No one reported injuries, Painter said. None of the occupants’ dogs appeared hurt in the fire. Firefighters went back into the home to help family members retrieve some personal belongings.

Fire officials said they likely would not know what caused the blaze or where it started until next week.

The basement appeared salvageable but the first floor sustained a lot of smoke and fire damage, Rick Funkhouser, also with the county department, said at the scene. Flames appeared to have damaged a small trailer and a large pickup parked near the home.

The fire rendered the house uninhabitable and the residents received assistance from the owner’s house insurance provider, Funkhouser said.

Brenda Ryman, who does not live at the residence but was there babysitting three, small children, fled the house with them as soon as she saw the blaze.

“Dixie, the black dog, went to the door and started barking, and I thought somebody was coming in,” Ryman said. “So I went there to look and I opened up the door just a little bit and I seen fire so I shut the door and I grabbed the kids and I was gone (out another door).”

“I am just beside myself ‘cause I don’t know,” Ryman added.

Homeowner Terry King and several other family members who live in the residence were not at home when the fire started. King said he renovated the house a couple of months ago. King said at least no one was hurt in the fire.

Woodstock volunteer firefighter Bobby Funkhouser, who lives nearby, heard the call and was one of the first people to arrive at the scene. Funkhouser said he heard the initial call of a fire under a porch and thought he could help extinguish the flames throwing dirt on the blaze. However, by the time he arrived the fire was much bigger than he anticipated.

The Strasburg Fire Department and Strasburg Rescue Squad responded along with crews from stations in Toms Brook, Middletown, and Star Tannery as well as with the  Shenandoah County and Frederick County Departments of Fire and Rescue. Woodstock Rescue Squad also assisted. The Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Building Inspections Department also responded to the scene.