Lightening torches home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

WOODLAND – Friday night’s thunderstorm is to blame for a home that was destroyed near here on the Benthall’s Bridge Road.

Four local volunteer fire departments responded to the 10 p.m. blaze that destroyed the Howard Fennell home, a single-story brick structure located near Menola Second Baptist Church.

Mr. Fennell and his daughter were home at the time of the fire. Both managed to escape unharmed, but a family pet was not as lucky as a dog inside the home was overcome by smoke and died.

St. John’s Fire Chief Wesley Liverman said lightening was listed as the cause of the blaze.

&uot;From what Mr. Fennell told me, lightening hit his home, blew out all the lights and then the house caught on fire,&uot; said Liverman. &uot;When we arrived on the scene, one end of the house was fully engulfed in flames.&uot;

Liverman said he immediately called for assistance from Murfreesboro and Union fire departments. In addition, the Woodland Fire Department arrived, summoned by the Northampton County emergency dispatcher.

All totaled, Liverman estimated there were 40 firefighters on the scene.

&uot;The house was a total loss,&uot; he stated. &uot;It got to the point where we had to pull the firemen out of the house once the roof began to cave in.&uot;

One nearby home was not affected.

Hertford County EMS also responded to the scene to check out the family victims. Neither was injured.

&uot;I wish there was something else we could have done, but when lightening directly strikes a home, you don’t have much of a chance of saving it,&uot; noted Liverman. &uot;We did everything we could. All four departments worked very well together.&uot;

No other damage was reported from Friday’s storm, despite National Weather Service radar reporting possible tornadic rotation in one storm that hugged the Chowan River as it neared Harrellsville.