Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 20, 2014

6 departments respond to fire

CERES — Six Mercer County volunteer fire departments shuttled water and drew water from Squeeze Creek to battle a blaze of “undetermined” origin Wednesday afternoon at a home on Ceres Road near the intersection with Voo La Voo Mountain Lane.

The male and female owners of the residence sat on a neighbor’s porch, watching the firefighters battle the blaze. Neighbors said the two were most distraught over two dogs that were inside. Captain David Thompson Jr., of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department, said that he couldn’t confirm the presence of any animals in the residence. He said that there were “no injuries to citizens or firefighters,” in the blaze.

Thompson said that the fire started in a garage that was connected to the residence. Bluewell and Green-Valley were both paged out at 1:44 p.m., East River was paged out at 1:48 p.m., with Montcalm, Matoaka and Oakvale volunteer fire departments getting calls within a few minutes. The Princeton Rescue Squad also staged near the site of the fire. Ceres Road is about a lane and one-half wide and the nearest hydrant was about three-quarters of a mile away on Maple Acres Road.

The firefighters were made aware early on that the home owner kept ammunition loading supplies in the garage where the fire started. While Thompson acknowledged the potential danger associated as live rounds of ammunition that were going off during the fire, he said the gun powder explosions were causing flare ups in the structure. Thompson said that the homeowners built additions on the home at various times, adding to the complexity of the challenge the firefighters faced.

“Right now, we’ve got a brush fire that has gone about half-way up the mountain,” Nelson Short of the West Virginia Division Forestry said. While volunteer firefighters put water on the brush fire, Short used a heavy-duty leaf blower to create a fire break on a perimeter surrounding the fire.

Harry Croy said his son has a home on top of the hill on Squeeze Creek Road above the site of the fire. “I believe they got the fire stopped before it got up to his house,” Croy said.

The firefighters set up a portable pump on the bank of Squeeze Creek and ran a hose to supply a pumper truck.

“If we can keep water on the fire from the creek and shuttle in tankers, we can keep the fire from spreading,” Chief David Thompson Sr. of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department said.

Firefighters were on the scene for more than six hours, working to control the fire.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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