Lawmen probe house fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2005

AHOSKIE – The cause of weekend fire at an Ahoskie residence has been deemed suspicious and is under investigation by the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.

Suspicion was heightened by the fact that the residence, located at 1418 US 13 just north of Ahoskie, was not connected to an electrical power source.

&uot;All I can say at this point is that we are investigating the cause of this fire,&uot; said Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan. &uot;Hopefully, more details will surface soon.&uot;

The Ahoskie Rural Fire Department responded twice to the scene. The first call came in shortly past 11 a.m. Seventeen firefighters and four units rushed to the scene, finding heavy smoke and several &uot;hot spots&uot; within the residence, owned by Sampson Harrell of Durham.

According to Chuck Munford, Assistant Chief of Ahoskie Rural, the downstairs area of the residence was occupied by at least one tenant. The upstairs portion was under construction for a separate apartment.

Munford said no one was in the residence at the time of the fire. He stated that the origin of the fire began in a bedroom area.

After extinguishing the blaze, the Ahoskie firemen left the scene at 12:31 a.m. on Sunday. A little over four hours later, they were again summoned to the scene.

&uot;One of the neighbors called just before 5 a.m., saying they were awakened by a loud boom,&uot; Munford said. &uot;They looked out the window and saw the residence fully engulfed.&uot;

Ahoskie firemen responded to the second call with 12 men and four units. Assistance was given by the Winton Fire Department who rushed seven men and one unit to the scene.

The firefighters remained on the scene until 7:46 a.m.

During both incidents, US 13 was blocked and traffic was rerouted.