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Firemen battle blaze, high temps

AHOSKIE – There was more heat than expected here Tuesday.

With the air temperature teasing the triple-digit mark, extra manpower was needed as personnel from four Hertford County fire departments battled a residential blaze at 613 East Hayes Street.

There, a single-story home suffered severe damage in a fire that apparently was started due to an electrical malfunction.

Fortunately, no one was at home at the time of the fire, called in at 1:52 p.m.

“When I arrived, there were a couple of young men using a water hose in an attempt to stop the fire,” Ahoskie Fire Chief Ken Dilday said.

With flames pouring from the front of the residence, a neighbor’s house situated in very close proximity and 90-plus degree heat, Chief Dilday played it safe and summoned additional manpower. Assisting the Ahoskie personnel and units were men from the St. John, Union and Winton fire departments.

“Not knowing exactly what we had on our hands at first, I made a quick call to summon out the other fire departments for assistance,” Dilday said. “What we needed the worst of all was manpower. It gets awfully hot inside our turnout gear on an average day. Temperature wise, Tuesday wasn’t one of your average days.”

Additionally, members of Hertford County EMS responded. They continually offered cups of cold water to the firefighters as they exited the residence.

“We really appreciate everyone who came out and helped us,” Dilday said.

Following an investigation, Dilday said it appeared the fire started in the den area of the home, owned by Matthew Goodman of Greensboro and rented by Gloria Simons.

“The renter told me she kept a small fan running in the den in order to help cool the house during the day,” Dilday said. “We’re thinking the fan either overheated or had some sort of electrical short because it was very obvious that the fire started on the edge of a couch near where the fan was located.”

The Ahoskie firemen left the scene at 3:45 p.m.