The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

December 13, 2013

Crab Orchard man injured when fire engulfs home

A Crab Orchard man was transported to a Huntington burn center after fire destroyed his home Thursday morning, Sophia City Fire Department Chief Jeff Pitman and Raleigh County Emergency Operations Center dispatchers reported.

The man, the only resident in the house at the time, was apparently taking a shower at his Florida Avenue mobile home when the fire broke out around 8:15 a.m., said Pittman.

Pittman said the man was able to grab a towel and to crawl through the bathroom window, but he sustained burns and lacerations.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a mobile home bathroom window: They’re very small,” Pittman said.

The fire chief said the mobile home was heavily engulfed in flames when firefighters from Sophia City, Sophia Area, Mabscott and Coal City arrived.

By 10:45 a.m., firefighters had put out the flames, but the home was lost, said officials.

A woman whom neighbors identified as the resident’s girlfriend wasn’t in the home at the time of the fire, Pittman reported.

He added that the man’s little dog was unaccounted for Thursday afternoon.

The man was transported to Raleigh General Hospital, then flown to a Huntington hospital for treatment of his burns, said Pittman.

His condition was unknown Thursday afternoon, but Pittman said he was conscious when he was first taken to RGH.

Arson is not suspected, but the cause of the fire had not been determined Thursday afternoon, according to Pittman.

He added that a wood-burning stove in the home was initially suspected to be a possible cause.

Pittman took the opportunity to urge area residents to be careful when using extension cords for space heaters during the winter months.

“When you’re pulling a lot of amps (1500 watts for a space heater), you need a thicker cord to hold all that juice,” he said.

If an extension cord is of a smaller gauge, it could present a fire hazard if it’s used with a space heater, Pittman said.

One sign that an extension cord is being overused is if it’s warm to the touch, he added.

Pittman advised residents to ask for advice from home appliance salespeople on which type of cord is needed and to spend a few extra dollars on a thicker, safer cord.

“A good, quality extension cord in the long run may cost you a little more money, but it’s worth not burning your house down,” he said.

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