By Eric Crews
Staff Writer 

Home Destroyed, Man Saved After Fires


Last updated 2/27/2012 at 1:04pm

A family of four lost its home and belongings last week in Sapphire. (Courtesy photo)

A home was lost and a man narrowly escaped after local firefighters tackled two fires last week.

A quick response by the Lake Toxaway Fire Department to a 911 call last Wednesday was not enough to save a Sapphire house on Ivy Lane off Bearwallow Road, according to Assistant Chief Bobby Cooper.

Firefighters arrived three minutes after they were dis-patched, but by that point it was already too late to save much of the rental house that was the home of a Sapphire man, his mother and the man’s two children.

Cooper said that just before 1 p.m. a neighbor called the renter, who was not home, to tell him that his house was on fire.

“When we got on the scene, the fire had already spread throughout the attic, and it was pretty much fully involved,” Cooper said. “The house was burning from one end of the house to the other. It was our understanding no one was inside.”

With the heavy fire burning in the attic, the fire was difficult to control.

“We started doing a defen-sive attack on it from the out-side, because there was no good way to get to the fire,” he said. “But it pretty much gutted the entire house.”

The 1,200-square-foot house had been built in three different sections throughout the years, Cooper said.

The fire marshal’s office determined the fire most likely started after a bucket of ashes from the fireplace was placed too close to combustible materials, Cooper said. Cooper said that most of the possessions in the home were destroyed during the blaze.

The Rosman Fire Rescue and the Cashiers-Glenville Fire De-partment assisted the Lake Toxaway Fire Department in helping to control the fire. The Red Cross assisted the family by providing housing and emergency assistance following the fire.

Brevard Fire

An early morning fire at an apartment complex on Tarheel Lane in Brevard on Friday led to the evacuation of several apartments, according to Brevard Fire Department Chief Craig Budzinski.

Budzinski said the smoke detector in the apartment likely saved at least one resident’s life.

“Smoke detectors were going off in a duplex apartment just before 5 a.m.,” Budzinski said. “The upstairs neighbors heard the alarm going off and called 911.”

Assistant Chief Mark Norton, who was the first on the scene, said that excessive heat from a burner with food on it led to heavy smoke inside the apartment.

Norton forced open the door of the apartment and entered the residence, but he was unable to get a response from the tenant. He found the tenant asleep in the apartment.

“When he got inside he was able to get the resident out with the help of the Brevard Police Department,” Budzinski said.

The man was very lethargic and nearly unresponsive, possibly due to the high levels of carbon monoxide in the apartment, Budzinski said.

“The smoke detectors were going off and he didn’t wake up,” he said. “The CO2 levels in his blood were very high, and he was transported to Transylvania Regional Hospital for further treatment.”

The fire was confined to the stove and no damage from the fire was apparent, but there was heavy smoke damage throughout the apartment.

Budzinkski said that this incident illustrates how important it is to regularly replace smoke detector batteries and test the detectors.

“Without the smoke detectors this could have been much worse,” he said. “This situation, with a heavy sleeper, it’s very fortunate that the neighbors were there.”


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