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Fire destroys large home near Cashiers

The Sylva Herald & Ruralite of Sylva, North Carolina

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A three-story, 3,780-square-foot house burned to the ground early Sunday, Dec. 29, in the Trillium subdivision near Cashiers.

Eight people from Raleigh who were renting the house escaped unharmed; a fire alarm likely saved their lives, Ca-shiers-Glenville Fire Department Chief Randy Dillard said.

Firefighters were called at 1:17 a.m. to the house and remained on the scene for six hours. A second home about 30 feet away caught fire, suffering minor damage, and 10 others houses on a nearby ridge were threatened. About 80,000 gallons of water later, firefighters doused the original blaze, saved the second house and prevented fire from spreading to the houses on the ridge.

"Thank goodness it was also raining. If it hadn't been, it would have been terrible," Dillard said.

A definite cause hasn't been pinpointed, but the fire experts are looking at a chimney area outside of the house. The renters used an outdoor fireplace the previous evening, but told firefighters they thought the fire was out before they went to sleep. Dillard said he believes the fire burned in the roof at the front of the house for at least 10 minutes before the alarm sounded and warned the people inside.

The renters lost one car in the fire but were able to drive another out of harm's way.

Jackson County's last appraisal set the value of the destroyed house at $670,870. Timothy Harvey of Colorado Springs, Colo., is listed as the owner. Firefighters from across the county and beyond responded, with departments from Cullo-whee, Highlands and Lake Toxaway directly involved in firefighting, and Sylva and Canada on standby to help and respond to other emergency calls.

On the other end of the county, Qualla Fire Department on Friday, Dec. 27, also fought a house fire, at 5602 Thomas Valley Road. The owner is listed as Darnell Farms; Nate Darnell and his wife, Cory, and the couple's three children (ages 5, 2 and five months) escaped unharmed from the 11:36 p.m. fire, said John Thomasson, assistant fire chief and district coordinator.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to a single building, but that structure was a total loss, he said. Darnell said he "heard something popping and cracking," and evacuated his family, Thomasson said. Darnell said he'd been having issues with the woodstove's pipe, the assistant fire chief said.

Fire departments responded from Savannah, Bryson City and Cherokee; the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and MedWest emergency workers were on hand.



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Original Publication Date: January 2, 2014



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