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Firefighters respond to blaze near Forest Home

Though the new year often brings with it new beginnings, it only brought the untimely demise of a home located at Forest Home Lane, nestled between the Liberty and Forest Homes communities Thursday.

At approximately 3:30 p.m., the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department responded to a house fire call. The response was swift; after all, the department is situated barely a mile up the road from the burning home.

Keith Foster of the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department was among the first responders to arrive at the scene, just two minutes after the emergency call was placed.

For Foster, as well as the subsequent fire fighters who would arrive on the scene from Greenville, Forest Home and Shackleville fire departments, the fast response was only outmatched by the spread of the flames within the home.

“As far as the house and its contents, it was a total loss,” Foster said.

“That house was partly made of pine. And once it gets going, all you can really do is contain it and stop it from spreading to somewhere else.”

Because no one was home at the time the fire broke out, no injuries were reported.

When the smoke cleared, Foster said that the origin of the blaze had yet to be determined.

“There were several heaters in there, a fireplace and a stove,” Foster said.

“It looked like it started in the back section of the house. But as for what actually started it, we have no way to tell.  It could’ve been a short in the wire, as far as that goes.”

Foster, who also serves as the president of the Butler County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, extended thanks to neighboring fire departments for assisting in containing the blaze, which he suspects carried potential to spread quickly to nearby structures.

“Cooperation with one another is the reason we’re able to respond in the amount of time that we do in some instances,” he said.  “And we’re lucky to have a good EMA director in Kris Ware, who is able to be on the scene to help folks get assistance the best she can.”

Given the frigid temperatures that have swept the region in recent weeks, Foster said that a reliance on heating appliances only makes sense.  But, he cautioned, a curtain, a space heater and the right gust of wind could often become the prime ingredients for disaster.

“The main advice I’d offer to folks is to check or clean their chimneys,” Foster said. “I clean mine at the first of every year.

“And when it comes to space heaters, people sometimes have things a little too close to them. Be it a fireplace, a gas heater or especially a space heater, make sure nothing flammable is nearby.”

Attempts to reach the homeowners were unsuccessful as of press time.