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Update: Bluffton woman loses home in fire

BLUFFTON — A Bluffton woman was left homeless Tuesday after fire destroyed her residence at 490 Ohio 103, said Bluffton Fire Chief Jon Kinn.

Mary Ann Saum lived in the cabin with two dogs and two cats. Saum was uninjured, but her dogs did not escape the fire, Kinn said. Her cats have not been located

The American Red Cross of Hancock County is helping Saum with free food, clothing, personal hygiene items and long-term recovery help.

Kinn said firefighters were called to the scene at 5:15 p.m. Monday, and arrived to find the cabin engulfed. Firefighters remained on scene until almost 7 p.m. No firefighters were injured.

Kinn said the fire appeared to be electrical in nature, however, it will be ruled as undetermined.

Damages are estimated at about $18,000, and Kinn said insurance information is still unknown.

A fire on Bentley Road, Bluffton, caused about $10,000 in damages Monday afternoon, he said.

The home is owned by David Whittaker, who was home at about 2:30 p.m. when the fire occurred. He escaped uninjured.

Kinn said the fire was a cooking accident, and most of the fire damaged was contained to the kitchen. He said there was heavy smoke and some water damage throughout the rest of the house.

The fire caused about 10,000 in damages. The home is insured.

There were no other injuries.

Kinn said the Bluffton Fire Department has responded to a rash of fires and accidents since Jan. 1.

So far this year, the Bluffton Fire Department has responded to 24 fire or accident runs. The department, he said, typically response to a total of 85 to 100 calls all year.

“I’m not sure what’s going on, but our numbers are way up,” Kinn said.

January’s bitter cold made the job a lot harder, he said.

“It just doesn’t go as well. Valves freeze up. Hoses freeze up. People freeze up,” he said. “It’s just really been difficult this year.”

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