Fire probe under way

First Posted: 6/29/2009

ARARAT A fire that started in a 30-year-old storage building on Ararat is still under investigation by the countys assistant fire marshal.
Three siblings who grew up in the family homeplace at 1856 Ararat Road stood in the yard Monday afternoon watching flames shoot out of a storage building on their property. Firefighters worked diligently and managed to save at least the exterior of the shed.
Kelly Cummings, one of the three, said that someone had driven by the family homeplace when they noticed flames coming from the building.
They thought, Did we just see a fire? and turned around and came back. They knocked on the door and got my sister-in-laws attention. She called 911. The fire department got here really quick, Cummings said.
According to 911 records, the call was received at 1:16 p.m. The first truck from the Ararat Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene at 1:22 p.m.
It was really scary. The flames were shooting up way into the trees, she said as she pointed to the scorched trees above the building. But they got here really fast and got it under control.
Fire Chief Brian Parker pulled mounds of burlap tobacco sacks out of the building. He explained to resident Kerry Cummings that the sacks had helped hold the fire at bay. He also said a small window in the back of the shed allowed air to flow through the building.
If there hadnt been as much air through there, I think we would have lost the whole building, said Parker.
Kerry Cummings noted that two cinder blocks that were in front of the door to the shed had been moved. It was determined that the door was already open with the blocks moved when the fireman arrived on the scene.
Jason Burkholder, assistant fire marshal, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
In addition to the Ararat Volunteer Fire Department, members of the White Plains, South Surry and Pilot Knob volunteer fire departments responded to the call. Surry County Emergency Services and Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad remained on medical stand-by while crews were on the scene.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.

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