02/16/11 — Couple's home destroyed in city fire

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Couple's home destroyed in city fire

By Gary Popp
Published in News on February 16, 2011 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro firefighters plan their attack on the fire inside a home at 103 S. Randolph St. The fire gutted the home late Tuesday morning.

An elderly couple was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital Tuesday after a fire destroyed their Randolph Street home.

Richard Freeman, 75, and his wife, Karen, 71, were treated and released.

Firefighters with the Goldsboro Fire Department battled the fire for nearly five hours, starting about 10:30 a.m. The fire began underneath the home and spread through the inside of the walls into the attic, said Assistant Fire Chief James Farfour, who added the fire was caused by a gap in the duct work that allowed the furnace's heater coils to ignite a floor joist below the bathroom.

Damages were estimated at $70,000.

The Freemans had gone outside the home by the time fire trucks arrived. Farfour said one the department's captains had to go back inside the burning structure to get Freeman, who had gone back inside to rescue the family cat.

Farfour said that firefighters had to enter smoke filled rooms of the home and pull up portions of the floor to reach the fire.

"Smoke conditions were pretty intense as far as not providing much visibility," he said.

Initially, saws were used to cut the floor, but the lack of air inside the rooms eventually made the saws inoperable.

Firefighters then used axes to cut holes in the hardwood floor.

"It was a labor intensive operation because the firefighters had to cut out the floor so they could get in, squat down and fight the fire from there," Farfour said.

The firefighters had to get creative in attacking the fire because of its location, Farfour said.

"It was basically a 16-inch-a-time fight," Farfour said.

Farfour said firefighters found themselves in the difficult position of using hoses to spray up on the bottom side of the floor.

"The guys inside the home could not see if they were being effective a lot of the time," Farfour said. "They were being directed by someone outside."

Firefighters also fought the blaze from the top of the house by creating a hole in the roof for ventilation and containment purposes, Farfour said.

He praised the collaborative effort of the firefighters who arrived from four stations and worked in shifts to fight the blaze.

"The firefighters went above and beyond in every aspect. They really did a phenomenal job. Although it was time consuming, they were using the best methods that could be used to contain the fire."