Crews battle house fire in Cheat Lake; cause under investigation

MORGANTOWN — Local fire crews battled a blaze at a home at 122 Blossom Drive in Cheat Lake that burned for several hours Wednesday (July 18) morning.

According to Mon Health EMS, two adults were home at the time the fire started but made it out safely with no injuries. The homeowners were asleep when the fire started.

Johnathan Thorne, of Star City VFD, was the ranking firefighter at the scene, and he deemed the house to be a “total loss.”

The call first came in at about 7 a.m., and Star City, Brookhaven, Cheat Lake, Westover, River Road, Granville, Triune-Halleck, Cool Springs, Clinton District and Bruceton Brandonville volunteer fire departments, as well as Mon Health EMS, Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department and Red Cross, all responded to the scene.

Thorne said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Due to limited manpower and water resources, and the large scope of the fire, it took longer than usual to put out. About seven or eight water trucks were brought in one after another so that there was enough water to quell the fire.

“Between all the fire departments that responded, we probably had 20-30 volunteer firemen out here today,” Thorne said.

Upon arriving at the scene, Star City VFD saw heavy fire conditions in the basement of the home and that the fire was starting to come through the roof, as well.

“Star City made an initial interior attack as an offensive, and then we switched to a defensive [approach] due to the amount of fire and amount of resources we had at the time,” Thorne said.

He also believes the homeowners had pets, but he was unable to confirm their condition or whether they were in the home when the fire started.

Two vehicles were in the garage and were completely charred and unsalvageable.

“There are a lot of associated risks, especially with limited manpower,” Thorne said. “The vehicles are highly flammable, and there are a lot of combustibles in vehicles. Whenever we gained access to the garage, [the cars] were on fire. So that was another issue with trying to control the fire as well.”

With the lack of manpower, Thorne had Mon Health EMS give firefighter rehabilitation by distributing water bottles, cooling down the firefighters with cool, damp towels, and allowing them to sit and lay down in the shade while they worked in shifts to dispel the fire.

“Whenever we arrived on scene, and I saw what we had and how many people were coming, I knew that we were going to be here for [a long] time,” Thorne said. “So that’s a decision I made. It’s one of the great benefits of this county, honestly, because they’re there when we need them. They come out and they help. It’s a very good resource.”

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