House fire displaces family, alters school exit

May. 16, 2013 @ 06:17 PM

A Henderson family of eight was displaced by a house fire on Charles Street that also prompted evacuation of Henderson Middle School near the end of the school day Thursday.

Principal John Hargrove said it was a precautionary measure to have students stage at an alternate location from the front of the school where two Henderson Fire Department engines and a tanker had deployed to put down the blaze at 224 Charles St., across the roadway, minutes before 3 p.m.

“I evacuated the building as a precaution,” Hargrove said. “I did not pull the alarm because some of the children would have automatically gone toward the front property.”

Instead, school administrators directed each classroom to depart. Vance County Schools ran alternate routes for busses to pick up the students and parents were also redirected.

Henderson police cordoned off the 200 block of Charles Street while the firefighters completed their work. The fire was out before 3:30 p.m.

All eight members of the Wunderlich family got out of the house without injury, and they had two dogs and two cats with them as well. The afternoon was spent making arrangements with the American Red Cross and the United Way for a place to sleep.

Family members were wondering about what comes next after that.

“We don’t know anybody,” Jessica Wunderlich said, adding the family had moved to Henderson from Virginia within the past year. “We have no idea.”

Sylvia Wunderlich, Jessica’s mother and grandmother to her small children of ages 18 months and a 3-years-old, said their property inside the house was insured and the home was a rental.

Michelle Wunderlich, Jessica’s younger sister, said she found out about the fire while at Southern Vance High School where she attends, learning that their bus routes were delayed because of reroutes to Henderson Middle.

She then discovered that the fire was at her house.

Family members said firefighters told them that the fire started in a bedroom closet.

Henderson Fire Department officials were not available at press time to report on damages or an official cause.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.