Fire Rips Apart Home, Kills Dog

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin
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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An Albemarle County family is without a home today following a fire on Tuesday morning. What started as a small porch fire at the home turned into something much bigger.

"When fire units got here the front of the house was heavily involved," said Captain James Barber of the Albemarle County Fire Department.

The fire on Key West Drive was so heavy it took 35 firefighters almost three hours to put out. Two people inside the home when the fire started were not hurt. The family dog was killed. Firefighters know the fire started on the porch. They are still looking for the cause.

"There are some things that we have to look at, and try to rule out. But, it's early on in the investigation," said Captain Barber.

Family and friends arrived at the home around lunchtime to console each other. Looking at the damage is a sign they will be spending even more time together.

"The house is pretty heavily damaged, and they're not going to be able to live in there for some time," said Captain Barber.

At least the people who lived in the 400 block of Key West Drive can return home.

In recent weeks, several homes in Charlottesville and Albemarle County have been threatened by brush fires.

There was no concern for neighboring homes at this fire.

"There's a water supply close-by, and there's a hydrant, so that wasn't an issue like sometimes as it can be if you have to draft water out of a pond," said Captain Barber.

The cause of the fire is unknown, and the investigation continues. Firefighters urge everyone to check the batteries in their smoke detectors.

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