ALTAVISTA — Unrelated residence fires on back-to-back days last week caused extensive damage to two Altavista homes, uprooting those who lived there. Although one of the homes was occupied when the fire occurred, no people were reported injured, but at least one pet reportedly received veterinary care following the fire. In both cases, quick, aggressive action by firefighters prevented the blazes from spreading beyond their rooms of origin.

Altavista Fire Company firefighters received the call for the first fire — at 1206 Amherst Ave. — at 6:22 a.m. Feb. 5 and had units arrive in three minutes, according to AFC reports. Upon arrival, firefighters saw smoke and flames coming from the second story bedroom windows of the two-story row home. The woman who lived there had been awakened by a smoke detector going off and was able to safely exit the home and call 911.

Although at least one of the home’s pet cats had already gotten out before firefighters arrived, firefighters reported finding three additional cats inside as their fire attack teams battled the fire, which was confined to an upstairs bedroom. There was also thick smoke throughout the upstairs area. The firefighters rescued the cats, which were uninjured, as well as a pet rabbit. The rabbit reportedly received veterinary care following the fire. 

“We have to let you know the bunny housed in that room was found alive … and is currently at Peaksview vet for oxygen and assessment,” a woman who identified herself as the mother of the home’s occupant posted Monday on the Altavista Fire Company’s Facebook page.

The mother, JoAnne Dalton, told The Journal via Facebook Tuesday that the rabbit, “Buns,” is fine. “She appears to be perfect!” Dalton said in her message. “She was found hunkered down behind her metal cage that had melted spots, but no evidence of burns or singed hair. The vet did an X-ray to look at her lungs — all looked great!”

Campbell County public tax records list the row home’s owner as Samantha Dalton. The .05-acre site is part of a complex called Marlo’s Townhouses.

The Campbell County fire marshal’s office is investigating the blaze to determine how it started. About 13 volunteer Altavista firefighters responded to the blaze, which kept firefighters on the scene 90 minutes. Three Evington Fire Department firefighters and Campbell County Public Safety staff also assisted, while Hurt Fire Department stood by in case it was needed.

AFC reminds residents to check their smoke detectors’ batteries and that they are working  properly.

Second fire on Lynch Mill

In the second home fire Altavista firefighters handled last week, the resident arrived home to 1134 Lynch Mill Road, not seeing anything amiss from the outside. When the person opened the front door, there was thick smoke throughout the home, according to an Altavista Fire Company report. The resident then called 911.

Altavista Fire Company firefighters received the call of the fire at the single-story residential home at 2:26 p.m. Thursday and arrived at 2:31 p.m. They reported that no smoke was visible from the exterior, but encountered heavy smoke as they entered the home.

They traced the fire to a basement laundry room, which had sustained heavy fire damage. They extinguished the fire before it could spread beyond the laundry room.

Campbell County public tax records list the home’s owner as Leslie Cox. 

The Campbell County fire marshal’s office is investigating the blaze to determine how it started. Personnel from Evington Fire Department and Campbell County Public Safety assisted.

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