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Firefighters get 'a good save' on Gas Hills blaze

Dec 7, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Riverton firefighters kept a home from being destroyed Thursday evening after an electrical fire reportedly broke out in an attached garage on Gas Hills Road.

"It was a pretty good save overall," Riverton Volunteer Fire Department chief Ralph Estell said Friday. "(The fire) took out the entire garage area, then got into one of the back rooms and into the attic, but we were able to cut it off and extinguish it at that point."

He said the homeowner, who is identified in reports as Cherry McGuffin, discovered the fire when she got home at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

"She had left for a small amount of time, and when she came back she saw smoke in the garage area," Estell said. "She saw some fire, so she got her fire extinguisher and tried to put it out, but it got too big."

A group of about 13 firefighters in five trucks responded to the scene, and Estell said they could see the blaze before they arrived at the property.

"As we were driving out of town you could see the flames shooting a good 15 or 20 feet above the garage," Estell said. "We could see from far away that it was a working fire."

He said the flames spread to McGuffin's mud room and upward to her attic, where firefighters kept it from traveling to the roof.

"We were able to get up in the attic spaces and keep it from spreading too far," Estell said. "Attic fires can be pretty tricky at times. They can move pretty fast."

The fire was "knocked down" by 12:10 a.m. Friday, and Estell said the scene was cleared by 2:30 a.m.

"It took awhile for mop up to make sure everything in the attic was cooled off," he said.

One responder was treated by emergency medical personnel after getting ash in his eye, but Estell said the volunteer was alright.

"He's OK," Estell said. "He just got it washed out."

A fire investigator was on scene Friday morning to officially determine the cause of the blaze. Estell said McGuffin likely was staying elsewhere, as electrical and gas utilities had to be shut off at her home. She was not injured in the incident, and he thinks she was the only person home at the time.

She reportedly owns several pets, and Estell said he thinks they all were saved as well.

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