04/02/04 — House fire started by child cooking

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House fire started by child cooking

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 2, 2004 2:01 PM

A home at 1002 N. James St. in Goldsboro was damaged heavily Wednesday night in a fire caused by unattended cooking.

The home was occupied by Gwendolyn Jefferson, whose mother was the owner of the Jefferson Corner Grocery, which was beside the house, at 107 Riway St. The store burned on March 5 in another fire. Rachel Jefferson was the owner of the store. She said she did not have insurance and had lost her livelihood.

Fire Chief Bobby Greenfield said today that a child, about 13 years old, had put food on the stove, then left the home and returned to find the house on fire.

"He had heard a commotion down the street and went outside," Greenfield said.

When 16 firefighters answered the 10:19 p.m. alarm with three engines, a ladder and a command car, they found the home engulfed in flames. They needed about two hours and a half to put out the fire, investigate the cause and finish salvage work.

A few hours later, the fire started again, and firefighters returned to put it out. They stayed about two more hours to make sure it was out.

No one was injured in the fire.

The one-floor home and contents were valued at about $55,000, Greenfield said. Damage was estimated at $45,000.

The grocery store fire, police said, was caused by clothing left on a power strip under a front window. Damage was estimated at $15,000 to the building and $20,000 to the contents. The building was valued at $25,000 and the contents at $50,000.