02/27/04 — House fire cause still unknown

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House fire cause still unknown

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 27, 2004 1:58 PM

The cause of Thursday's fire that destroyed a home at 707 E. Spruce St. remains undetermined, a Goldsboro Fire Department official said today.

Assistant Fire Chief Gary Whaley said he did not believe the fire was set.

Whaley said he thought that two unidentified women walking past the house saw the fire and tapped on a window to alert the resident, Alfred Watson.

The fire had engulfed the front of the one-floor wood-frame house, Whaley said, and a refrigerator blocked the back door. Watson scrambled out a bedroom window to escape the flames.

The women left soon after 16 firefighters responded to the 10:13 a.m. alarm with three engines, a ladder truck and a command car. They needed about an hour and 15 minutes to put out the fire, investigate the cause and finish salvage work.

"They all did an outstanding job," Whaley said. "They had difficulty in getting in the back door. Once they got inside, they quickly knocked down the fire. The structure was pretty well destroyed. It was an older house, and the overhaul work was extensive in putting out smoldering embers."

Watson, who owned the home and lived alone, was assisted by the Red Cross and a friend.

The home was valued at $20,000, and damage was estimated at $15,000, Whaley said. The contents, valued at $2,000, were destroyed.

The call came in at about the time snow started falling heavily in Goldsboro. Whaley said firefighters had no trouble reaching the home and added that no adjacent homes were threatened.