07/31/12 — House destroyed by accidental fire

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House destroyed by accidental fire

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 31, 2012 1:46 PM

A house and its contents were destroyed early Sunday morning by a fire investigators have called accidental.

When responders from Elroy Volunteer Fire Department arrived at 114 Miller St. after 3:15 a.m. Sunday, the attic of the house there was fully involved.

Elroy Fire Chief Steve Mozingo said he was told that everyone who lived at the dwelling had already evacuated, so firefighters, unable to enter the structure, worked to contain the fire from outside. And with crews from Pinewood and Arrington volunteer fire departments responding as well, the blaze was contained within 45 minutes.

Firefighters remained on the scene throughout the morning, though, putting out hot spots until 7 a.m.

The house, owned by William Vaughn, was estimated to be worth $60,000 and its contents at $15,000. Mozingo said while four walls and a third of the roof were still intact, the house was ruled to be a total loss.

A roommate living there admitted he likely caused the fire when he attempted to light a cigarette with a toaster.

Mozingo said the roommate said he used a wadded up paper towel to light his cigarette before he went to sleep. He placed the paper towel on the nightstand and awoke to find the bedroom in flames.

"What he said made sense because it was at the same point of origin," Mozingo said, adding that further investigation was not likely.

Wayne County Emergency Medical Services responded to the incident, but there were no injuries, although three pets -- one dog and two rabbits -- died in the fire.

The American Red Cross provided shelter for those who were displaced.