Murfreesboro family homeless after fire

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2005


That was the sentiment expressed by Murfreesboro Fire Chief Billy Deanes when he learned that the residents of 1313 River Street were not inside their Murfreesboro home Monday night.

Following an emergency call placed by concerned neighbor Mary Reid, firefighters made their way to the home of Robert and Bonnie Vinson in hopes that they were not trapped inside.

&uot;The call came in shortly after 9 p.m. with information that there might be someone inside,&uot; Deanes said, having learned later that the residents had just left to drop someone off at the bus station in Ahoskie.

This is the second time in less than a week that volunteer firefighters from Murfreesboro Fire Department and mutual aid volunteers from Como Fire Department responded to such a call.

&uot;When we arrived, flames were coming out of the windows and the door,&uot; Deanes said, noting that the fire likely started in the bedroom.

&uot;When I spoke to Mr. Vinson, he said he thought he smelled something burning before he left, but he wasn’t able to locate anything, indicating a greater problem,&uot; he said.

Deanes said Vinson smelled what he described as the possible burning of fabric such as would occur when a cigarette has been dropped on the cushion of a chair.

&uot;He flipped one of his chairs over to make sure no cigarettes had accidentally fallen, but he didn’t see anything,&uot; Deanes said.

The fire, which took close to six hours to completely extinguish, is believed to have started in the rear bedroom of the home.

&uot;The hottest place in the house can be traced back to the mattress in the rear bedroom,&uot; Deanes said. &uot;The mattress was made of cotton fibers, so it’s possible it caught fire from a dropped cigarette. The springs were completely melted.&uot;

Although the couple did not have insurance to cover the damage, Reid spoke encouraging words on their behalf. &uot;Things can be replaced, but people can’t. I’m glad they are all ok,&uot; she said.

Despite the couple’s loss, both the Vinsons maintained a positive outlook. &uot;We lost a lot, but God is good,&uot; Bonnie Vinson said. &uot;I’m glad we are all alright,&uot; remarked her husband.

Deanes said the couple might be able to gain assistance from agencies like CADA while they work toward getting their lives back together. The couple’s granddaughter Andria Peoples also resided in the home. The trio is presently staying with family.