Monday fire destroys home

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Firefighters responded Monday afternoon toa fire that destroyed the home of a local retired couple.

    As firefighters pulled into the driveway at 56 Imperial Lane, itwas apparent the house was already largely consumed.

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    Significant portions of the roof had collapsed into the house. Inthe backyard, an-above ground swimming pool sat untouched as smokeand flames swirled around it.

    In what used to be the home’s driveway, a boat purchased only sixmonths ago smoldered on its trailer.

    “Anything that could be saved was gone when we got here,” saidLincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey.

    Zetus, Hog Chain and Bogue Chitto volunteer fire departmentsresponded to the scene, along with firefighters from the Loyd StarVolunteer Fire Department and the Brookhaven Fire Department, butlimited manpower was still a problem, Galey said.

    The fire was reported to emergency services at 12:58 p.m. and Galeysaid the early afternoon time limited the number of volunteersavailable.

    Wayne and Judy Smith were the home’s residents. The couple hadlived there 11 years, Judy Smith said.

    The Smiths were not home at the time of the fire. They were eatinglunch at Cracker Barrel in Brookhaven when neighbors called to tellthem their house was on fire, Judy Smith said.

    The Smiths do not know how the fire could have begun.

    “There was nothing on,” she said. “The TV, lights, stove, they wereall off.”

    Galey said the fire’s origin has not been determined. The LincolnCounty Sheriff’s Department will investigate to determine whetherthe fire was accidental or not.

    The Smiths, both originally from Brookhaven, were thankful theirfour dogs, all dachshunds, were outside at the time of thefire.

    “The dogs are their babies, because their kids are grown,” saidMavis Warren, a friend of the Smiths on the scene.

    Firefighters said the dogs were huddled in the far corner of thebackyard when they arrived.

    Judy Smith lamented the loss of the boat.

    “That was Wayne’s dream to have that,” she said. “He hadn’t used ityet.”

    Judy Smith said she and her husband had a place to stay for thenight.

    “We’re not worried about that,” she said.

    At approximately 2 p.m. Monday, the fire was greatly reduced butparts of the house continued to burn. At that point, all unitsprepared to leave the scene.

    “In speaking to the homeowners and the insurance company we decidedto let it burn,” Galey.

    He said there was nothing in the house to preserve by that time andletting what remained burn would make cleanup efforts easier.