2016-08-10 / Front Page

Fires hours apart destroy two houses

By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer

Two Gaffney homes were destroyed by fires that occurred just a few hours apart Monday, while a third fire Monday night luckily was snuffed out before spreading.

The first of the fires occurred shortly after 3 p.m. when firefighters were called to the 300 block of Ford Road regarding a report of a mobile home in flames.

“The fire was 90 to 95 percent fully involved,” explained Fire Capt. Jody Brasington. “Fire was showing from every crack and crevice.”

Due to the advanced stage of the fire, firefighting efforts were defensive from the start. The home appeared to not have been in use and firefighters subsequently learned the home had been vacant for eight or nine months since the death of the owner.

Fire Chief Jamie Caggiano said the fire has been ruled suspicious but the exact cause was unknown. He said there were rumors some vagrants had possibly been using the home, which was a total loss. Severe damage limited firefighters’ ability to fully investigate the cause, however.

City firefighters were still cleaning up their gear from the Ford Road fire when they were called to the 300 block of West Third Street regarding another home in flames.

“There was heavy fire coming from the front of the house, out the front door, front windows and left side window,” Brasington said of the scene upon his arrival. Firefighters had been alerted to the possibility of entrapment inside the West Third Street home and Brasington said crews immediately made entry to the burning structure to simultaneously knock down the flames and conduct search and rescue operations.

The man who lived in the home showed up at the scene as firefighters were about halfway through their search efforts and was able to confirm no one was inside.

Caggiano said investigations into the cause of the fire were turned over to the Cherokee County Fire Investigation Team and local law enforcement. The cause of the fire was ultimately ruled undetermined.

Caggiano said the home had no power, although electricity was being run to the home through a drop cord from a neighboring house. The home was a complete loss, Caggiano said, with extensive damage to the living areas and front porch.

At 9:49 p.m. Monday, Gaffney firefighters received their third structure fire call of the day when they were dispatched to Jackson Street, where a stove had caught on fire. Luckily, Caggiano said, damage was minimal and the fire was contained to an oven. Firefighters removed the stove from the home and used fans to clear smoke from the residence.

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