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Fire destroys Oak Harbor house

"His face red from burns and hair matted down by the drizzle, David Horning stood in his front yard and watched just about everything he owns dissolve away into smoke and fire Thursday afternoon.At times Horning looked like he might be the Saddest Man On Earth as he stood in the cold, gray afternoon as firefighters doused the black hull of his house off Scenic Heights Road, sending vast plumes of smoke in the sky. But he now and again shook his head and laughed at his predicament, half-jokingly asking passerbys if they have a place where he can live.The fire could be seen from a mile away. Oak Harbor Fire Chief Mark Soptich said the fire was reported at about 1:40 p.m. Once at the scene, he said it took firefighters about 10 minutes to get the fire under control since the house was old and oddly-built. Firefighter wearing breathing apparatus then entered house and completely extinguished the blaze from the inside.The house and all of its contents were a total loss, Soptich said, but nobody was injured, except for Horning's light burns. Soptich says it was caused by an improperly-build fireplace insert that kicked out sparks into the house.Before the fire, Horning said he was doing some yard work earlier in the day when his wife, Sandra, ran outside in near-hysterics. Their house was on fire, she said.He ran to the front door of his cedar house, and finding it locked, kicked it down. As he did, a wall of flame shot out of the house at Horning, burning his face slightly and singing his hair.It was kind of scary, he said with a laugh. His wife disappeared after that, he said, and he wasn't sure where she went.Horning says he's often cautioned Sandra to keep an eye on the fireplace closely since it has a habit letting hot coals and ash into the house.It probably just got away from her, he said.Horning said he lost a valuable collections of paintings in the fire, including an original by actress Melissa Gilbert. He had jewelry, a collection of gold coins and jewels, titles to his cars and a gold jewelry box encrusted with gems, all in the house, all without insurance.Let me know if anyone has a place where we can live, he said. "

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