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Fire destroys home on Rance Drive in Brookhaven

Fire investigators will search today through the ashes of a Brookhaven woman’s home, looking for clues to what caused the blaze that destroyed the one-story, brick house Saturday night.

The house at 1046 Rance Drive was fully involved when firefighters arrived shortly after 11:30 p.m., Capt. Jeff Ainsworth said.

‘They tried to fight it, tried to put it out,” he said.

Homeowner Ethel Richardson lives there with her daughter, Lovie McCoy, two grandchildren, 24-year-old Chelsea McCoy and 20-year-old Davion “D.J.” McCoy, and great-granddaughter Aubrianna Gladney, 4.

Richardson is an administrative assistant in the special services department for the Brookhaven School District, which is located at Fannie Mullins School.

Three engines and nine firefighters responded to the call and were at the location within three minutes, Ainsworth said. But the fire was moving quickly.

Lovie McCoy said her son came home and saw the fire in the utility room. He yelled for the family and his mother came out then started getting everyone out of the house. They were able to get the keys to Richardson’s vehicle and move it away from the house before it burned.

Ainsworth said the fire appears to have started in the carport and raged through the kitchen and the living room. Lovie McCoy’s car parked near the front door of the house was also destroyed in the fire as the heat melted the exterior on the driver’s side.

Kendall Poole, who lives two houses down, said he used a hose to spray water on the fire as it licked toward the fence of the house between his and Richardson’s.

Though the fire was stopped before it reached the bedrooms, the area that did not burn was heavily damaged by smoke, heat and water, Ainsworth said.

Lovie McCoy said her family stood outside in the rain and watched firefighters try to save her mother’s home.

“We just watched and prayed,” she said. “Mama said it could have been worse. We could have been asleep.”

Richardson had lived in the house for 37 years.

A fund is expected to be set up today at an area bank to help the family with immediate expenses.