WEIRTON -A Weirton family is left with only the clothes on their backs as a fire ripped through the residence at 351 N. 12th St. Thursday night as storms raged through the valley causing damage to the area.
After attempting to operate a generator Thursday during a power outage resulting from the storms, the Little family suffered a total loss of the structure as flames seared through the home, according to fire officials.
Captain Jerry Shumate said the Weirton Fire Department was dispatched to a call on Willow Street prior to responding to the structure fire. With power and phone lines down and a weak signal, it wasn't until motorists informed by Ward 2 Councilman Harold "Bubba" Miller let crews know what was happening.
After attempting to operate a power generator during a power outage on Thursday because of storms, residents at 351 N. 12th St. suffered a total loss of the their home as flames began in the garage and moved to engulf the rest of the inside of the structure. -- Angelina Dickson
While responding to the scene, Shumate said there was heavy smoke rolling out of the single story house. After crews from the Weirton Fire Department, volunteer members and the Oakland District Volunteer Fire Department - for a total of nearly 20 firefighters on scene - doused the flames and the scene was investigated, the house was declared a total loss of contents.
"Thankfully, there were no injuries," he said noting the family lost all seven pet cats in the fire.
Shumate said the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Red Knights were notified to assist the family, who had no insurance on the house or the contents.
Ward 2 Councilman Harold "Bubba" Miller said he and others have been working to assist the family with food, clothing and shelter. Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, who is a member of the Red Knights motorcycle group which assists victims of fire, said funds are being gathered to ensure the family will have lodging at least until Monday.
"I'm proud of these guys who helped in this situation," said Miller, referencing the police, fire and ambulance services. "There was some time wasted with the power outage and lack of cell phone reception but after being notified they got busy and helped as much as they could."
Miller said it is a shame that nothing at this point has been identified as being salvageable but hopes enough support can be generated in the community to assist the family further.
Anyone wishing to provide assistance of any kind to Little family can contact Miller at 304-374-1144.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)