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Former store owner loses home in blaze

Two Lawrence County volunteer fire departments responded Monday afternoon when neighbors reported flames engulfing a man’s mobile home.

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Two Lawrence County volunteer fire departments responded Monday afternoon when neighbors reported flames engulfing a man’s mobile home.

No injuries were reported in the fire that destroyed Scottown resident Dave Pruitt’s home.

"There wasn’t anyone inside at the time of the fire," said Ron Ward, Proctorville Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief. The Proctorville department gave mutual aid to Windsor Township Volunteer Fire department during the incident.

"We sent two pieces of equipment over as well as personnel," Ward said. "The home was fully involved when firefighters arrived."

This is the second fire that has affected Pruitt’s life. The former owner of the Ohio Valley Fireworks store lost his business July 3, 1996, when a deliberate fire burned the building to the ground while employees and customers struggled to escape. The blaze killed nine people, becomming one of the deadliest fires in the state’s history.

Pruitt was expected to be released from an area hospital Monday after several months of illness. A family member reportedly went to the residence to turn on a heater to make the house warm in preparation for Pruitt’s arrival.

"Pruitt had supposedly been in the hospital for quite some time and just getting out," Ward said. "Someone went over to turn on the stove to break the chill."

Although firefighters worked quickly to control and extinguish the blaze, flames ate through the older-model home rapidly.

"The mobile home was a total loss," Ward said. "The state fire marshal investigator, Bob Lawless, was called in immediately to begin the investigation."

Despite the fast start to the investigation and the reports of an old heater, the exact cause and nature of the fire remains undetermined. Official reports remain under investigation through the state fire marshal’s office, firefighters said.

Windsor Township chief Don Christian and the fire marshal both were unavailable for comment by presstime.