Neighbors’ Quick Action Keeps Home From Burning

Posted: April 18, 2014

Steve Beeman cleans up the remains of his woodshed Thursday on Jollett Road in Page County. Beeman estimates his loss from the Sunday fire, including the shed and the contents inside, will be between $150,000 and $200,000. The fire was so hot it also melted siding on his nearby home, causing another $5,000 to $10,000 in damage. (Photo by Caleb Soptelean / DN-R)

On Sunday, Steve Beeman had just returned from his father’s funeral in Maryland and decided to go to church.

While on his way to his Page County home, he saw a fire while driving up Naked Creek and Jollett roads.

“I thought, ‘Holy smokes! My house is on fire,’” he said Thursday.

Thankfully, it wasn’t his house, but Beeman’s woodshed — which he had invested heavily in last year after retiring from a career in pest control — was blazing.

“I had a complete woodworking shop,” he said.

Firefighters from Shenandoah and Elkton responded to the fire at 2814 Jollett Road, about seven miles southeast of Shenandoah.

His wife expressed gratitude for her neighbors.

“They hooked up my side hose and kept my house from burning,” Mrs. Beeman said, holding back tears.

The fire burned so hot that 70 feet of yellow siding on the part of the house closest to the woodshed melted. That will require some $5,000 to $10,000 to replace, according to Shenandoah Fire Chief K.L. Jenkins.

Beeman said his woodshed — which contained a generator, woodworking tools, redwood and finished plywood, ammunition reloading equipment and other items — would probably cost $150,000 to $200,000. He has insurance.

Jenkins said he believes an overturned heat lamp caused the fire. Beeman agreed, saying he believes one of the 5- or 6-week-old baby chicks that he had in the shed knocked it over.

“They were just starting to jump,” he said of the chicks.

“Cleanup’s going to be a job and a half,” he said.

Contact Caleb M. Soptelean at 574-6293 or