Twin fires attract SBI interest

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AHOSKIE – One fire drove them out; another left them homeless.

The SBI has ruled the cause of a second fire in a little over nine hours at the same residence as “of undetermined nature.” That blaze, reported at 12:39 a.m. on Tuesday, left four apartments unlivable at the corner of First and Mitchell streets.

Ahoskie Police Major Jimmy Asbell accompanied the SBI investigator to the fire scene yesterday (Wednesday). There, the SBI determined that the second fire started in the attic area and burned down towards an apartment previously damaged in a first fire. That initial blaze was reported at 3:19 p.m. on Monday.

Damage was extensive to the structure owned by Jim Ellis. Asbell said the two upstairs apartments suffered major damage and the roof was gone. The two downstairs apartments suffered smoke and water damage.

Asbell added that due to the first fire, all electrical power to the house was cut off. Thusly, none of the residents were at home when the second fire began.

“With no electrical power, the SBI investigator could not rule out the possibility that the second fire was the result of the fire rekindling from the first call,” Asbell said.

Asbell said according to Ahoskie Fire officials, the cause of the first fire was traced to electrical wires in the kitchen area of an upstairs apartment.