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Fire Marshal: Wednesday blaze not sparked by explosion

Originally published: Nov. 15, 2012
Last modified: Nov. 15, 2012

Adam Orr

A West Jefferson home was destroyed by fire - not an explosion - Wednesday afternoon, according to Ashe County Fire Marshal Bob Davis. 

"As best we can determine the fire did not start by explosion," said Davis. "I'm not sure where that came from, but we think the fire could have started upstairs and went through the living quarters but it's tough to tell at this point. There wasn't much left." 

Ashe County Firefighters were called to the home, located at 4346 NC 163, to fight the three alarm blaze shortly before noon on Nov. 14. 

Crews from Jefferson, West Jefferson, and Glendale Springs Volunteer Fire Departments worked to extinguish the flames as smoke poured from the structure where only the brick exterior was left standing. A nearby metal structure remained intact, although the intensity of the flames melted the building's vinyl siding. 

No one was injured in the fire, as homeowner's Mark and Tracy Miller were not at home when the blaze began. 

"(Mark and Tracy) left to go to work that morning by 6:30," said Davis. "There were many, many ways that fire could have started - it could have been an appliance, an electrical short - it's really tough to tell."

Davis said a witness near the fire had seen smoke 30 minutes before the fire was reported. 

"He just assumed somebody was burning brush," said Davis. "After awhile the smoke got darker, and that's when they called it in." 

Davis said the home could have burned for several hours, though he said there was no way to know exactly how long the home burned before it was reported. 

"Sometimes in the winter, all the windows in a home are closed and fires can burn to the point where maybe a window breaks and the fire gets oxygen all of a sudden," said Davis. "That's when it goes up - quick, but it can take a while to get to that point." 

Scattered debris was also absent from the vicinity of the home, according to Davis. 

"I mean, Mark's a well known mechanic and he did have (combustible) stuff at the house, but that's not how the fire began," said Davis. "If there was an explosion, there would have been pieces of the house scattered everywhere."

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.