One fire suspicious, another displaces family

Jul. 29, 2013 @ 06:38 PM

Residential fires in and near Henderson over the weekend damaged two homes and displaced one family, but firefighters expressed relief that no one was injured.

The fires were not related in origin, but rendered both households unlivable at 607 S. Chestnut St. and 303 Harris St. The mobile home on Harris Street was vacant, according to Vance County Fire Chief Harold Henrich.

A Vance County Sheriff’s Office incident report notes the Harris Street blaze as “suspiciously catching on fire” and causing significant damage.

Henrich estimated the damage to the home belonging to Robin Renn of Kittrell at about $10,000. The call came in at 1 a.m. Saturday, and firefighters were on the scene in about a minute, he said.

“It was right down the road from the Vance County Fire Station on Bickett Street,” Henrich said. “It was contained in about 10 minutes. It was vacant, nobody was living in it.”

Henrich, also the Vance County fire marshall, declined to comment on the fire’s origins or suspicious nature except to confirm that it is under investigation.

Henderson firefighters, Cokesbury volunteers and Vance County rescue and EMS responders also helped at the scene.

The Henderson firefighters responding to Harris Street came on call because the main crew from the Garnett Street station had responded to the South Chestnut Street fire about an hour earlier, and were on location there until a little past 2 a.m., according to Henderson Fire Chief Danny Wilkerson.

“We received the call at 11:53 p.m.,” Wilkerson said. “The fire did about $12,500 damage structurally. We called the Red Cross for the family that was there.”

The structure was worth about $48,000 to begin with, and the estimated $10,000 worth of contents belonging to the family of Brian Dukes sustained about $5,000 damage.

Wilkins said it appeared the fire started near an electrical outlet that had given signs of a problem recently and had been replaced because of shorting out. The most important thing is there were no injuries.

“Everyone got out safely,” Wilkerson said. “They had working smoke alarms, and that made a difference.”

The South Chestnut Street home is owned by Wayne Kinton, according to Wilkerson.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.