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Fire destroys home

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A fire at the home of Mildred Townsend in Saluda started at a fuse panel in the attic. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)
by Tom Chillemi

The home of Mildred Townsend and her son Kevin on Rabbit Run off Watsons Landing Road in Saluda was destroyed by fire on Saturday morning, said Bill Thrift, chief of the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department in Urbanna.

Thrift said that Kevin Townsend told him fuses were being tripped in the older two-story farmhouse soon before the fire started in the attic, above the fuse panel.

Both occupants got out of the house. However, Mrs. Townsend was transported to a hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation, said Thrift.

The roof consisted of cedar shakes covered with metal, which held in the heat. “It took a lot of water to put it out,” said Thrift who estimated 20,000 gallons of water were sprayed on the fire.

The house did not have access to the attic so firefighters had to cut an access hole through the ceiling of the second floor.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the north side and second story of the house, but it was still a total loss, said Thrift. Some personal property was saved, he added.

Firefighters assisted with tankers from the Hartfield Volunteer Fire Department and the Upper Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department in Water View. Street fire hydrants were used to refill the tankers.

The Red Cross assisted the Townsends with temporary housing.

posted 12.23.2009

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