MARTINSBURG — Fire heavily damaged a home Wednesday evening on New Guilford Road (Ohio 541) a mile east of Martinsburg. Several fire departments sent men and equipment for mutual aid to assist the Bladensburg Fire Department at the Dennis and Padenna Halverson home.
The fire was discovered by a friend, Dennis Claggett, who went to the home to feed the Halverson’s dogs. Claggett said when he arrived, there was smoke coming out under the eves of the single story home.
He called 9-1-1 and the Bladensburg department was quickly on the scene. Incident commander and Bladensburg Fire Chief Nick Cockrell quickly called for mutual aid. Answering the call were Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District, Homer Volunteer Fire Department, Utica Fire Department and College Township Fire Department, which sent engines, tankers and firefighters.
The fire apparently started in the basement where wood used to heat the house was stored. The stairway to the basement was burned and firefighters had to use ladders to get into the area. They were able to remove some of the wood but a large quantity remained in the basement. Chief Cockrell said bedrooms above the basement were burned. To get at the fire, firefighters cut nine holes in the side of the house.
The office where Mrs. Halverson worked at home was heavily damaged. Cockrell said there was not much left to be salvaged after the fire and extensive smoke and water damage. Firefighters fought the blaze for three and a half hours to be sure it was out.
The Halversons, along with their 10-year-old son, were on a Christmas vacation in Key West, Fla. Claggett called them and said they were arrainging a flight home.
Cockrell said there was so much damage in the area where the fire started he feels there is no way to determine the cause. He will not call in the Ohio State Fire Marshall’s Office.
New Guilford Road was closed to traffic for the duration of the fire.
“Now all we have to do,” said Cockrell, “is spend six hours getting our trucks and equipment cleaned up.”
Bladensburg, along with EKCJF, Utica and Homer departments returned to to the home this morning at about 4:30 after the fire rekindled.