West Point firefighters were hard at work as fire destroyed two homes Saturday. One was on state Route 7 near Beaver Local not long after midnight. The second was at a mobile home on Yeager Drive shortly after noon.
The home's owner, Chris Fisher, his son and a female occupant were inside at the time and made it out safely. The house, however, was declared a total loss. A cat and a potbellied pig were killed in the fire.
West Point Fire Chief Wayne Chamberlain reported an unused air conditioner started the blaze.
West Point and Glenmoor firefighters battle a blaze on state Route 7 early Saturday. (Salem News photo by Patti Schaeffer)
"The fire started in the air conditioning," Chamberlain said. "The unit was not running at the time, but the wiring could have shorted out and spread that way."
Chamberlain also noted the wiring may have gone bad, and didn't rule out the possibility that the cold weather played a factor.
"With it being as cold as it has been, it has the tendency to short the electricity out and cause damage to the wiring," Chamberlain said. "It's either that or there are some wiring that went bad in the house already."
Fisher's neighbor, Rich Wright, first noticed the fire after his dog Jinxy ran toward the house and barked continuously.
"I was in the kitchen, and I saw my dog taking off," Wright said. "When I went over there I saw flames shooting from the air conditioning unit. That's when I told my brother to call 911."
Fire crews arrived shortly after, and Wright felt that Jinxy's alertness made a major difference in several lives.
"She was the one that alerted me," Wright said. "She ran to the first sign of any trouble. She's like my little Lassie. ... I am happy that I was able to see them make it out safely."
Fisher is staying with his father in the meantime.
Fire crews also couldn't save a home on state Route 7 from being a total loss after being called at 1:48 a.m. Saturday.
Michelle Ammon, the resident, was not at home, and no one was inside the house as firefighters worked hard to put out the large flames.
"The fire was well-involved on our arrival," Chamberlain said. "It was just a total loss."
Firefighters and county officials were unable to determine how the fire destroyed the home owned by Larry and Betty Davis.
"We're not sure how it happened," Chamberlain said. "County officials had investigated the matter, and couldn't find a cause for the fire."
Glenmoor fire crews also provided manpower and Lisbon personnel were on standby for both fires on a day proven to be long and hard for West Point fire crews.
"We had gone to Route 7, then to Yeager Drive, then back to Route 7," Chamberlain said. "It has been a busy day."