A five‑bedroom home on Warrior Road in Pleasant Point was a total loss after a fire of unknown origin started on Sunday, October 20, around 10:30 p.m. The fire has left the owner of the house, who was about to move into it the following morning, without a place to live.
Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal's Office and a couple of investigators were on the scene all day on Monday and returned to the site on Wednesday with a state electrical inspector. "At this point the cause is undetermined," he stated after the Wednesday visit. He will be awaiting the report from the electrical inspector and conducting interviews as the investigation continues.
While no one was in the house at the time of the fire, Pleasant Point Fire Chief Alan Sprague notes that one family was moving in while another was moving out. The Perry Volunteer Fire Department assisted the Pleasant Point firefighters, and Chief Paula Frost says that a total of about 16 firefighters were at the scene battling the blaze. Perry brought two pumper trucks and its rescue truck, while Pleasant Point had its pumper and tower trucks.
The firefighters tried for an interior attack "but there was too much fire and we were beaten back," says Frost. Regrouping for an exterior attack, the crews used the tower truck and deck gun, at one point dumping 700 gallons a minute on the blazing structure. A search of the building was done after the fire had been knocked down. She notes that Perry was done by about 12:30 a.m. and Pleasant Point by about 3:30 a.m.
Owner left homeless
Debra Yarmal, who owns the house, says she was planning to move into the home on Monday, October 21. According to Yarmal, Elsa Socobasin has been living in the home, which had previously been owned by Elsa's husband Harold, who passed away in 1994. Yarmal had purchased the house from Harold's son Michael in 2003 but had been letting Elsa Socobasin live there rent-free until she was unable to care for herself. Although Yarmal says she had offered to live with Socobasin in the house, Socobasin declined. Although Yarmal didn't want to do so, since this spring she has been trying to evict Socobasin and Newell Owens, who also was living there. According to Yarmal, under a court-ordered eviction they were to have been moved out by Friday, October 18.
When the place burned Sunday night -- just before she was to move in -- Yarmal was devastated. "That's the first thing I've owned in my life," she says, breaking into tears.
This is the second house fire that Yarmal has gone through. When she was six years old her family home at Pleasant Point had burned. Shortly after that, she and her sisters were placed in different foster homes.
Because of mental issues, Yarmal has been on disability. She says she is "having a hard time" with the loss of her house. She is now staying with her niece but was supposed to move out by Friday, October 25. "I have no place to live," she says.
Yarmal's sister, Denise Altvater, is seeking donations of building materials and labor so that a new home can be built for her. Those who would like to donate can call Altvater at 214-6383.