RAVENSWOOD - Fire destroyed a home on West Virginia 68 in Jackson County on Sunday evening.
According to officials, the split-level house was 11 miles north of Ravenswood in a rural area where housing is sporadic and cell phone service non-existent.
The family asked that their identity not be revealed, said Ravenswood Fire Department Chief Craig Blackhurst.
No one was home at the time of the fire, Blackhurst said. The family had one pet, an outdoor cat. The animal's welfare is unknown at this time, Blackhurst said.
The home was engulfed in flames before the fire department could arrive, said Blackhurst. "By the time firefighters arrived, the home had already collapsed in on itself. All we could do was try to keep it from igniting the nearby propane tank," said Blackhurst.
The fire call came in at 7:40 Sunday evening. It was reported by a passerby, who had to drive several miles before the call could be made, said Blackhurst.
Upon arrival, firefighters determined that the nearest fire hydrant was almost four miles away. The Ravenswood Fire Department, Silverton Volunteer Fire Department and Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Department took turns shuttling water along the route, Blackhurst said.
The blaze's distance from the hydrant required the fire be tackled through a surround method, Blackhurst said. "Because of the closeness of the propane tank, we had to knock the structure away from it and keep the propane tank cool," Blackhurst said.
It was 18 degrees when the station responded to the fire, Blackhurst said. Water spilled by the tanker trucks while ferrying water froze on the roads, Blackhurst said. They had to call in salt trucks to de-ice the roadway.
The Ravenswood Fire Department declared the fire to be self-contained at 8:32 p.m., but remained at the scene until 11:10 p.m. for an investigation, Blackhurst said. Because of the severity of the fire, the investigation as to its cause is ongoing.