Few things recovered in Pleasant Valley Road fire

PLEASANT VALLEY — Ruth Lundy and Art Starner gingerly picked through the remnants of their home Monday after inspectors came to examine the damage caused by a fire early Thursday morning. The fire destroyed most of the house and garage, leaving just the chimney standing.

"We're glad we were able to recover a few photos of Art's father," Lundy said.


According to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the home collapsed in the blaze, causing an estimated $200,000 in damage to the property in the 300 block of Pleasant Valley Road. The investigation into the fire is ongoing.

Lundy said smoke alarms woke her around 3:30 a.m. Thursday. She said she had been sleeping on the first floor because she is recovering from a recent surgery. Starner was sleeping upstairs. He and Lundy were able to escape with their cell phones, but lost most of their possessions, as well as two cars and three cats. Some of their other cats were able to escape, Lundy said.

"We could see the fire jumping off the other buildings," Lundy said.

Starner said he burned his hands and feet leaving the home. He was able to move one of their cars away from the flames. It sustained some damage on its left rear light.

Most of Starner's possessions are covered by homeowner's insurance, but Lundy's are not as the couple is unmarried.

"We need all the help we can get," Lundy said. "We're just trying to get on our feet again."

Lundy posted about the fire on Facebook and her high school friend Geraldine Brandon, of Danville, Va., decided to start GoFundMe fundraising page to assist the couple. As of 5 p.m. Monday, $1,000 had been raised for the couple, according to the page.

"I'm so far away but I wanted to help," Brandon said Monday.

Lundy said she is mainly concerned about her clothes and shoes. She needs dress clothes for when she returns to work as an off site job coach at The Arc of Carroll County in Westminster.

Lundy said the couple will be staying at a motel in Westminster until they begin to rebuild.

"The worst thing is the waiting," Starner said. "We're lucky to be alive."

Reach staff writer Michel Elben at 410-857-7873 or

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