A Saturday evening fire heavily damaged a Park Avenue home in the Steelton section of New Martinsville, displacing a mother and her three children.
New Martinsville firefighters were alerted to smoke coming from the home at 667 Park Avenue at 7:17 p.m., and when they arrived and entered the home they were met by heavy smoke and fire in the basement and first floor of the home. Crews battled the intense conditions and were able to bring the fire under control by 7:55 p.m. but not before more than an estimated $70,000 dollars damage to the home and nearly $30,000 dollars in damage to its contents according to New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Couch.
The initial attack crew encountered zero visibility due to the heavy smoke conditions, but were able to find fire in the hallway and bedrooms on the north side of the home. As they progressed, crews discovered that the core of the fire was burning beneath them in the basement and had burned the flooring away from under the advancing crews. They then entered the basement and were able to quickly extinguish the fire in the north end of the basement as well as the upstairs bedrooms.
The home is owned by Jim Hensel of New Martinsville and is occupied by his daughter, Sheyenne Estep and her three children. Hensel and Estep have been in touch with their insurance carriers as well as local charities and the American Red Cross to help them establish temporary housing and begin the recovery, repair, and rebuilding process for the home, according to Couch.
There were no injuries in the fire. The occupants were away at the start of the fire which appeared to have started in the area of the basement bathroom and storage room; the fire appears to have been accidental. A family puppy was rescued from the home but did succumb to the effects of the heavy smoke in the home.
New Martinsville's 13 firefighters were assisted at the scene by Wetzel County Emergency Medical Service, New Martinsville Police Department, Mon Power, New Martinsville Water Department, and Mountaineer Gas. Paden City Fire Crews were on standby during the incident.