LOWGAP — A Lowgap man who was awakened by a fire at his residence early Monday was able to escape, but the single-wide mobile home was destroyed, officials say.
“He was asleep in the house and he woke up coughing,” Skull Camp Fire Chief Josh Moose said of the incident at the home of Mitchell Willard at 158 N. Big Oak Lane. The fire, which was reported just after 1 a.m., was believed to be electrical in nature.
Willard, 33, got safely out of the burning structure, located off Big Oak Lane not far from the Flippin Road intersection. He went to a neighbor’s home to call 911.
“When we got there it was a working trailer fire,” Moose said of volunteer firefighters. “It took us about 15 to 20 minutes to get it under control.” The home and its contents were deemed a total loss.
“The outer shell was still there, but everything on the inside was gutted,” Moose said.
Earl Mounce of the Surry County Fire Marshal’s Office said Monday that the origin of the blaze was accidental. “It appeared to come from an electrical outlet there in a hallway.”
No estimate was given for the loss. Unconfirmed reports indicated that the mobile home was being rented from Willard’s brother.
Willard was the only person in the home when the fire started, but it was the residence of two family members, his son Garrett, 3, and Teresa Willard, 49, whose exact relationship with the other occupants was unclear. They were spending the night with other relatives Sunday.
The Surry County chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the fire victims with lodging, food, clothing and medications.
In addition to the Skull Camp Volunteer Fire Department, members of the Pine Ridge and Franklin volunteer units responded to the scene.
“We probably had close to 20 (firefighters), I guess,” Moose said of those who fought the blaze.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.