Cause of West Lake fire undetermined

Homeowner saw flames under tanning bed

Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:04 PM
Last updated 7:35 PM
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Wednesday night fire in West Lake  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Wednesday night fire in West Lake

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Columbia County fire investigators said Thursday they have yet to determine the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a doctor’s residence in the 400 block of Congressional Court on Wednesday night.

The West Lake subdivision home of Dr. Henry W. Ferguson, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Georgia Regents Medical Center, was damaged in the blaze, which broke out about 8 p.m.

Ferguson’s wife told firefighters she was using an upstairs tanning bed when its power went out, according to Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue spokesman Jeremy Wallen. She went to investigate the breaker and returned to find flames shooting from beneath the tanning bed.

Wallen said it is uncertain whether the tanning bed was the cause of the blaze. An investigator determined that the fire was accidental and that no foul play is suspected.

Ferguson’s wife and a passer-by called 911, and when firefighters arrived, the second floor was engulfed in flames, Wallen said.

There was heavy fire and water damage to the top floor of the residence, which, according to county tax records, is worth more than $400,000. A neighboring home sustained minor damage from heat and debris, firefighters said.

In some cases, victims of fires and other disasters can request assistance from the American Red Cross.

Red Cross of Augusta Executive Director Jennifer Pennington said the organization’s Disaster Services team identifies hotels that keep rooms open for emergencies during Masters Week. If a large disaster or multiple disasters leave people homeless, she said the Red Cross will open a shelter to house them.

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Grandpa Jones
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Grandpa Jones 04/11/13 - 01:14 pm
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...

Mrs Ferguson should be thankful that she isn't at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, today.

karradur
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karradur 04/11/13 - 01:22 pm
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I'm glad everyone is safe.

But the spouse of a doctor should really know better than to use a tanning bed.

Really, everyone should know better.

Why would you use a device that is GUARANTEED to give you cancer?

David Parker
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David Parker 04/11/13 - 02:19 pm
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Big Macs, cigs, asbestos,

Big Macs, cigs, asbestos, mold, the list goes on. Yes yes yes, artificial tanning causes cancer, just as natural tanning causes cancer, just as breathing air in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause cancer. If I kick-it from anything other than cancer, won't I be the shocked one?!?!

sry, back to the fire

carcraft
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carcraft 04/11/13 - 07:36 pm
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Dr Ferguson is a great guy!

Dr Ferguson is a great guy! He has my deepest sympathy and a lot of prayers from my wife and I! I do hope things work out well for him!

KSL
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KSL 04/11/13 - 08:13 pm
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And she did not unplug it

And she did not unplug it before she left the room?

KSL
124790
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KSL 04/11/13 - 08:43 pm
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My comment would be that she

My comment would be that she failed to unplug a possibly defective fire causing very large appliance.

Just visited a house where an idiot tried to cover a murder by setting fire to his victim. City fire department got there so quick due to security system, you cannot see any fire damage except in the room. They were actually responding to a county fire in their district where we county people pay for city fire protection, well worth it. City of Aiken fire responders rock. None better!

I'm not sure about what this article is saying. No security system? Slow response in Cola County? Tanning bed with lights versus gasoline poured around a room, tanning bed wins?

carcraft
25030
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carcraft 04/12/13 - 07:32 am
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Mrs Ferguson thought the

Mrs Ferguson thought the breaker tripped, went down to check it came back to a fire. She appeared to have done the proper RACE procedure. Report, Evacuate, Contain, Extinguish.

keicke
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keicke 04/14/13 - 02:27 pm
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Insight

@karradur: actually did you know a short period of time in a tanning is recommended by providers for some medical conditions (ie psoriasis - not to say that she has this)? Nonetheless, she has experienced enough trauma at this point. Is it necessary to say such negative things when there is a much bigger picture here?

@KSL: she DID unplug the device and follow the proper RACE technique - I know Mrs Ferguson, personally, and she is a very smart lady who responded appropriately...better than most I would think

The point of this article is that two very nice people have lost a substantial amount in the blink of an eye and are now without a home; it is a humbling experience. No golfer was involved, people are taking pictures of their tragedy everyday, and they are having to rebuild their lives.

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