Fort New Salem continues with restoration efforts after fire damages cabin

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SALEM, W.Va. – A nearly 150 year old historic cabin was recently damaged by fire in Harrison County.

Fort New Salem board chair Dr. Joseph Audia said drought conditions and a stray spark led to last week’s fire that damaged one cabin.

But a quick response from local firefighters spared the historic museum from becoming a complete loss.

“We were doing some periodic maintenance and a spark had gone and smoldered for approximately five hours before it went out into blaze,” Audia said.

The fire was contained to the historic Waldo Run cabin, which suffered damage to one of its lower seal logs and floor boards, but given the age of the structure and building materials involved, Audia feared the worst.

“You get a frantic call saying you need to get over to your campus because there’s a fire and then frankly when driving to it, what you saw was the whole cabin engulfed in smoke,” Audia said.

The cost to repair the cabin is unknown at this time, but Audia said Fort New Salem avoided what could have been a total catastrophe.

“The cabin itself miraculously did well, it was just a very small corner of it but it was a crisis averted that could have been really, really bad,” Audia said.

The Fort New Salem board of directors said they expect to have the restoration work completed before its annual Christmas celebration.

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