A blaze sparked by combustibles being too near a heat source has caused major damage to a home on Haymore Street in Mount Airy and displaced a couple living there, according to a city fire official.
Neither of the two occupants, Danny Lee Slate and Tina Renee Moore, were at the residence at 528 E. Haymore St. when the fire broke out about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday. Also, no injuries occurred among the 16 firefighters who responded and had it under control in less than 25 minutes.
But the home has been left far from unscathed.
“There was a pretty significant amount of damage done to the structure,” Mount Airy Fire Chief Zane Poindexter said of the single-story wood-frame house owned by Kary Jessup with Slate and Moore as tenants.
The flames erupted in the rear portion of the home in a bedroom area, stemming from combustible items being ignited by a heat source: a monitor heater, which burns kerosene and uses a fan to circulate the heat through a room.
“It’s one of those things we’re always warning about in wintertime,” Poindexter said. “We’d just like to remind people to keep their combustible items, anything that will burn, at least three feet away from a heating source.”
When the blaze started, no one was in the house, where problems with broken pipes had led to no hot water and Moore going to another location to take a shower. Meanwhile, Slate was at work.
Someone spotted spoke coming from the small residence of about 1,500 square feet, which received structural damages of $30,000 and content damages of $10,000.
“It’s significantly damaged,” the fire chief said in pointing out how the two occupants have been displaced from the house. “It’s going to take a massive amount of overhaul to be able to make it livable.”
The local American Red Cross is providing temporary housing for the couple in the aftermath of the incident.
Poindexter said fire personnel were able to salvage some pictures and other personal property of the occupants, including a family Bible that was not burned.
No other structures were affected in the close-knit neighborhood, including the former homeplace of actor Andy Griffith on East Haymore Street now used as a lodging establishment.
In addition to the Mount Airy Fire Department, other public safety agencies responding to the scene included the Surry County Emergency Medical Service, Mount Airy Rescue Squad and Bannertown Volunteer Fire Department.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.