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Fire destroys another home near Urbanna

Despite not having working smoke detectors, no one was injured in this nighttime fire that occurred on January 23 near Urbanna. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

The smell of smoke awoke a mother in time for her to get her infant and escape their burning mobile home on Thursday, January 23, about 4:47 a.m.

Outside the temperature was about 9 degrees. Dressed in pajamas, robe and slippers, she ran to a neighbor’s home and knocked on the door.

The home on Johnson Drive, just west of Urbanna, was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived, said Ray Burch, chief of the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department.

Fighting the fire was compounded by live electric lines on the ground, which stopped firemen from spraying water on part of the fire until power was shut off by Dominion Virginia Power.

The home had no working smoke detectors, said Chief Mark Nugent, the Middlesex Emergency Service Coordinator. “She got out with the clothes on her back,” he said. “They lost everything else.”

Smoke detectors give occupants an early warning at the first sign of a fire, even if it’s just smoldering and has not erupted into flames, said Nugent.

The fire appears to have started in the kitchen area, said Nugent.

Without a home are the 25-year-old mother, her 9-month-old child and her boyfriend, who was at work when the fire started.

Also responding were the Upper Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department of Water View and the Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad of Urbanna. EMTs checked the mother and baby. They did not require hospitalization. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters from Urbanna also responded to a truck fire on Wednesday, January 22, at 10:45 p.m. on Myrtle Lane in Saluda. The Dodge Durango was a total loss, said Nugent.

Red Cross responds
Volunteers of the River Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross responded and helped coordinate assistance in the form of clothing, food, shelter, and emotional support for the house fire victims.

This was the tenth fire the local Red Cross has responded to since November, said Julie Dudley, executive director. Last year, the chapter responded to 42 fires. “We’re deeply saddened for those affected in all the counties we serve,” she said. “As we continue to provide support to those affected, we also encourage others to take action to minimize the risk of a home fire.”

The Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke detector and create a fire escape plan.

Items needed for victims
A local effort is under way to help the family who lost most of their belongings in the fire, said Sarah Gill Kimble.

Heidi Romberg Damron posted on Facebook a plea for clothing.

Needed are women’s size 16-18 pants and extra large shirts. She wears size 10.5 women’s shoes or 9 men’s.

He wears size large shirts and size 10 shoes. He wears about a 30/32 pants.

The baby wears size 4 diapers and wears size 12-18 month clothes. He really needs socks, and he drinks Similac formula.

Those who want to help the family can leave clothing and other items at Something Different restaurant in Urbanna, or contact Kimble at 695-6101. 

posted 01.29.2014

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