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Couple homeless following Sunday blaze

ST. JOHN – A cook stove left unattended is apparently to blame for a residential fire here Sunday that left a couple homeless.

St. John Volunteer Fire Department Chief Wesley Liverman said the home, owned by Lloyd and Carol Hunt of 105 Arthur Majette Road, suffered extensive damage.

“Mrs. Hunt told me she was cooking some food on the stove in the kitchen and left it unattended while she talking on the telephone in another room,” Liverman said. “She said she then heard a noise coming from the kitchen and when she went to investigate she found a large portion of the kitchen was on fire.”

Liverman said upon the arrival of the St. John Volunteer Fire Department, flames were visible from both kitchen windows and heavy smoke was coming from the roof. He said the call came in at 9:09 a.m. and the first fire unit was on the scene two minutes later.

The heavy smoke briefly closed NC 561. After the road re-opened, traffic on NC 561 was limited to one lane in order to allow emergency vehicles to have easy access to the Arthur Majette Road. One deputy with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and one volunteer fireman used two-way radios to direct the traffic.

“At first, the smoke covered 561, so much to the point where visibility was zero,” Liverman said. “Once the wind picked-up it blew the smoke away.”

St. John VFD sent four units and 12 men to the scene. They were assisted by three units and 13 men from the Millennium Volunteer Fire Department.

The last unit cleared the scene at 12:42 p.m.

From a damage standpoint, Liverman said the couple lost basically all their belongings.

“What the fire and the heat didn’t damage, the smoke and water did,” he noted. “Some of the firemen went inside and attempted to salvage what furniture they could.”

Liverman said he contacted the American Red Cross to help the family.

He also issued a few words of wisdom by saying, “Do not leave anything on the stove unattended. As it was in this case, it doesn’t take long for an unattended pot or pan to flare up and get out of control.”