Bathroom light sparks fire at lounge

BUCKHANNON — No one was injured in an electrical fire that broke out Thursday afternoon at the High Life Lounge on the Old Weston Road.
The Buckhannon Fire Department was paged out at approximately 12:35 p.m. and arrived on scene at the lounge, located at 511 Old Weston Rd., within five minutes, according to Lt. Brian Elmore with the BFD.
Juanita McCauley, the lone employee working at the time of the fire, noticed that the lights had gone out, so she went to flip the breaker.
“Flipping the breaker didn’t work, and that’s when I started smelling smoke from the women’s bathroom,” McCauley, a cashier, said at the scene. “I went into the bathroom and I saw that the ceiling light was on fire, and the plastic part had already fallen to the floor, so I threw water on that. I saw the fire had spread through the attic, so that’s when I called [911].”
McCauley said she immediately asked the one patron in the High Life Lounge at the time to leave.
Elmore said there was minimal damage, estimating about $1,000 to $1,500 of water/fire damage.
“Most of the damage was to a light fixture in the bathroom area and some boards up there in the attic area that were charred and burned also,” Elmore said.
Noting that McCauley did not shut the door to the women’s bathroom when she went outside, Buckhannon fire chief Jim Townsend emphasized the importance of closing doors in homes and businesses as a means of preventing the spread of fires.
“Closing a door that would isolate where a fire is in any kind of structure would prevent fire spread, and we are placing an emphasis on closing bedroom doors at night,” Townsend said. “Fires don’t often occur in bedrooms; they’re more likely to occur in kitchens and laundry rooms, so if people are sleeping in bedrooms, closing the door just gives them more a chance that the fire will not spread into the bedroom. When you’re leaving home, if you leave as many doors as possible closed, it helps because it’s going to decrease the fire spread.”
Townsend also observed that electrical fires seem to be a trend in Buckhannon and that adopting National Fire Protection Association code within with city would help quell that problem.
“We are in the process of adopting NFPA codes within the city, so hopefully we can begin the process of better fire prevention practices,” Townsend said.
In addition to the BFD, the Warren District Vol. Fire Department, Adrian Vol. Fire Department, Upshur EMS and the Buckhannon Police Department responded to the scene. An out-of-county fire department from Lewis County was paged out but subsequently canceled once the BFD quickly contained the flames, Townsend said. The state Department of Highways managed traffic control.

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