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Fires destroys lake home

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

David Campbell awakened around noon on Dec. 17 to find his Swanee Shores home filled with heavy, black smoke.

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“I saw the smoke and got my babies out,” he said, the day after the fire that destroyed the place he’s called home on Williamstown Lake for the last nine years.

Not wanting to leave the family’s two boxers inside, he opened the door and was greeted with flames that singed his face and hat.

“The firefighters told me if I hadn’t opened the door, they might have saved a few more things,” Campbell said.

He managed to grab his wife’s rings and a bag of Christmas gifts, but that’s all the family was able to salvage.

The dogs died in the fire.

When the Williamstown Fire Department arrived on the scene, Chief Les Whalen said the home was about 75 percent destroyed.

Swanee Shores, a private gravel road, was ice and snow covered. Whalen said the department, which was also assisted by the Dry Ridge Fire Department, didn’t have trouble getting to the fire but did need help from the city, county and Republic Services to get about six vehicles unstuck after the fire.

Whalen said the fire started from a heater and was possibly knocked over by one of the dogs.

The Campbell’s and their three children, ages 4, 6 and 9 are staying with relatives.

The day of the fire was their daughter, Zoe’s 9th birthday.

“”I’m just glad we made it out,” Becky Campbell said.

Family members are planning a benefit for the Campbell family from 2 to 8 p.m. Dec. 26.

Williamstown firefighters were also called to another fire later in the day on Sunset Drive. Whalen said the fire was contained to the kitchen of the residence.

CAMPBELL BENEFIT
• Dec. 26
• 2 to 8 p.m.
• American Legion, Williamstown
• For information call 824-4900