First Posted: 12/5/2009
An electrical malfunction Saturday afternoon sparked a blaze that displaced four occupants of a house on North Main Street in Mount Airy.
Members of three fire departments responded to the incident at 1247 N. Main St., just south of the Jones School Road intersection, about 3:20 p.m. When they arrived, all occupants were safely out of the structure.
Mercedes Smith, 16, one of its residents, said that she a friend, Camm Moore who had stayed overnight there Friday were the only ones in the home at the time of the fire, which coincided with its electricity going out, they said.
The furnace doesnt work, and we saw smoke in the house, said Smith, who has lived there since April with her sister-in-law, Kenya Smith, and the latters two children. The occupants also noticed the chimney was on fire.
Moore said there soon was smoke all over the place, and that she thought she was going to lose consciousness at one point because of having asthma and experiencing difficulty in breathing.
Kenya Smith earlier had left the home to take her two children down the street to another location.
The Mount Airy Fire Department was summoned and extra manpower was sought from other local units, with members of the Bannertown and Franklin volunteer fire departments responding as well. In all, 18 firefighters were there equipped with five fire engines, with moderate smoke and heat conditions encountered.
Personnel went in through the front door and also moved hoses onto the roof, where smoke was seen pouring from an opening in the structure. The situation was brought under control within about 25 minutes of their arrival.
Surry EMS and Mount Airy Rescue Squad members assisted at the scene along with Mount Airy police, who had to re-route traffic onto Springs Road and other adjoining streets while firefighters were engaging the blaze.
Damage was put at $10,000 to the structure and $3,000 to the contents. The house is owned by Trey McCarther, who was renting it to Kenya Smith.
Mercedes Smith said she and the other three occupants had found another place to stay in the aftermath of the fire, and the local chapter of the American Red Cross also was assisting the victims Saturday night.
The teen added that she had just sprayed artificial snow on a door of the house before the fire broke out, as a holiday decoration, and expressed sadness about the homes Christmas tree apparently being lost.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.