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Fire claims home of elderly Baskerville pair / December 04, 2013

A man and a woman, both nearly 90, were left homeless Wednesday after a fire destroyed their Baskerville-area home.

The fire was believed to have started shortly before 7:30 a.m. in a basement woodstove that was used to heat the home. Flames quickly spread through the interior of the two-story older frame house. While the exterior framework of the house remains intact, the interior was nearly gutted by the flames.

Crews from nearby South Hill, Boydton, and Palmer Springs fire departments were called to help douse the blaze after Buckhorn firefighters — who were first on the scene — discovered that the nearest fire hydrant was two miles away on U.S. 58. Tanker trucks from the various departments transported the water from the hydrant to a make-shift pool setup in the home’s driveway, and from there it was sprayed on the flames.

The teams were aided by the rain, which prevented the blaze from spreading to nearby woods.

Firefighters left the area after battling the fire for nearly three hours. However, they were quickly recalled to the home when embers inside the walls rekindled the flames. One local fireman estimated that they spent nearly five hours at the scene.

Ginger Weaver, a Disaster Services Specialist with the American Red Cross, said her agency was called in to help the couple by providing necessities such as food, clothing, and should they desire, temporary housing.

Weaver is also working with two residents of Charlotte County whose trailer was destroyed on Tuesday, Nov. 26. She believes that at least one of them had only recently relocated to the area.

The trailer, which was rented, and none of the contents were insured at the time of the fire, said Weaver.

Thanks to the work of Weaver, these two are able to get clothing, for free, through the Goodwill agency in Danville. “The Goodwill management out of the Danville location, which serves each of the counties that are in this Red Cross territory of seven counties, has graciously agreed that for a Red Cross client with a Red Cross letter of referral in hand, that has lost everything in a recent house-fire, their local store will provide some of these necessities,” stated Weaver.

The local affiliate of the American Red Cross provides disaster assistance to people in seven Southside counties: Halifax, Mecklenburg, Charlotte, Lunenburg, Nottoway, Cumberland and Prince Edward. Weaver said the Red Cross “thankfully has some volunteers in most of those counties.

“We focus on providing the necessities to disaster victims,” Weaver said. For example, “in the case of fire victims, we provide essential clothing, food for at least one week, and even temporary housing. We are not an insurer, and we, because of our limited resources, cannot replace all their lost items. Instead, we assess their situation and try to meet their immediate needs.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Ginger Weaver at 434.476.5148 or 434.470.7332, by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). or stop in at the office, 1030 Cowford Rd., Halifax, VA 24558

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