PILOT MOUNTAIN — The cause of a Friday night blaze at Pilot Mountain that displaced a single father and his seven children is under investigation, a county fire official said Saturday.
Members of three volunteer fire departments — Pilot Knob, Pinnacle and Double Creek, the latter two units from Stokes County — responded to the scene at 753 E. U.S. 52-Bypass about 6 p.m.
They found heavy fire involvement throughout the single-story wood-frame structure, located just outside the Pilot Mountain town limits.
Garvie Dixon, 40, and his seven children ranging in age from 4 to 15 were at home when the blaze started, and managed to get out safely. Dixon was checked out by Surry County EMS paramedics who also responded, but refused transport to a hospital.
Members of the Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad were at the scene as well.
“Significant damage” occurred to the house, according to Jason Burkholder, fire inspector with the Surry County Fire Marshal’s Office, although it has not officially been declared a total loss. “It’s still standing,” Burkholder said of the house.
Kerosene was the heating source used in the home, but the fire inspector said no link has been established between that and Friday night’s blaze.
“It’s still under investigation — I’ll be looking into it some more next week,” he added Saturday.
The family was renting the house, the owner of which is Jeffrey Lawson of Grassy Knob Road, Pilot Mountain, according to county tax records.
In addition to being displaced, Dixon and his children also lost belongings in the incident. A disaster team volunteer with the Surry County Chapter of the American Red Cross went to the home to help the family with temporary lodging and food, along with providing a clothing allowance.
The fire victims have been referred to the emergency services unit of the Red Cross for further assistance.
A Red Cross representative said the blaze has left the large family with major needs. “It really is a sad situation.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.