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St. Albans blaze leaves teen injured

A 13-year-old boy was flown to a Pittsburgh burn center after a house fire near St. Albans.

Fire broke out in the home on Main Drive in the Angel Fork area south of St. Albans sometime before 2 a.m.

C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County fire coordinator, said a man living in the home was awakened by the smoke detector. The man, whose name and relationship to other occupants was not released, found heavy smoke in the upstairs hall when he opened the bedroom door.

A woman in the home escaped with her young son, but her older son was sleeping in the living room downstairs.

The smoke was heavier downstairs, the man reported. He told firefighters he went downstairs to get the 13-year-old boy but the heavy smoke forced him outside.

"He had to step out to get some air before he went back in after him," Sigman said.

The man then pulled the youth out of the burning home.

The two-story house was engulfed in flames when volunteer firefighters from West Side, Lakewood, Jefferson and Tornado arrived.

Sigman said the teen, who suffered burns to his face, hands and shoulders, was taken by a critical care ambulance to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital. He was then flown to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment in the burn center.

Sigman was not sure of the boy's condition or prognosis. The boy's mother accompanied him to the hospital and was not injured.

"She wasn't hurt; she was just being a mother," Sigman said.

The man and the younger child were seen at the home by paramedics but declined further medical treatment.

Sigman said the man told firefighters the home's heat pump was not functioning and the family had been using a portable ceramic heater to warm the house.

Firefighters have not yet determined what caused the fire. The house suffered severe damage and is uninhabitable.

"Houses get going really quick nowadays," Sigman said. "They used to say back in the 70s that you had 15 to 17 minutes to get out of your house from the time of ignition.

"Now it's something like three to five minutes."

Modern day building materials, furniture and clothes are more flammable, he said.

Sigman said this is the time of year when residents bring out their space heaters. He wanted to remind citizens to use space heaters only while in the home and to keep a 3-foot radius of clear space around the heaters.   

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.


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