Fire leaves four homeless

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 12, 2004

WINTON – Four Hertford County residents, including two small children, are homeless following a residential fire that destroyed their house here Saturday afternoon.

Volunteers with the Winton and Ahoskie Rural fire departments battled stiff winds and sub-freezing temperatures as they fought to extinguish the two-alarm blaze in the early afternoon hours.

According to Winton Fire Chief James Broglin, a wood heater located in the front portion of the wood-frame structure – located at 237 Old US 13 at corner of Bluefoot Road – was apparently to blame.

&uot;Due to the flames and the heavy smoke, we were not able to save the home or its contents,&uot; said Broglin.

No one was at home when the fire was reported at 1:30 p.m. James Sawyer of Winton owned the home. He resided there along with his daughter and her two children, ages 10 and eight.

The Winton Fire Department responded with four units and 14 firefighters. Once on the scene, Broglin called for the assistance of the Ahoskie Rural Fire Department.

Smoke from the fire could be seen as far away as Ahoskie.

Broglin reported no injuries to any of the firefighters on the scene.

&uot;It was cold, very cold, but you put that out of your mind and go about the business of making every effort to extinguish the fire,&uot; noted Broglin.

The Winton Chief urged anyone using wood heaters this winter to exercise extreme caution. He added that Saturday’s blaze was the second fire of this nature in three weeks, the first destroying a singlewide mobile home on the Pritchard Farm Road on Christmas night.

&uot;Those burning wood for the purpose of heating or cooking should always have their chimneys checked and always be aware and very careful of what they are burning inside those heaters,&uot; stressed Broglin. &uot;Burning wood is a high maintenance method of heating. By using preventive measures, residents can prevent fires of this nature.&uot;

Winton firefighters remained on the scene until shortly past 4 p.m.