Fire at Stokes Ferry Road home started in chimney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
Flames ripped through the back side of an eastern Rowan County home Tuesday afternoon after the house’s chimney caught fire.
Firefighters managed to contain the blaze to the den and kitchen areas of the home at 8935 Stokes Ferry Road, but Scott Hill, assistant chief of the Liberty Fire Department, said the water and smoke damage could be quite substantial.
Hill said crews had to take an aggressive approach after arriving on the scene shortly before 4:30 Tuesday.
“You could see the smoke from at least a half a mile away,” he said. “When I got here this whole back section was in flames.”
Danny Shepherd said he was at home with his 10-year-old son, Simon, and Debbie Leazer, the family nanny, when the fire broke out.
“We were using a wood stove when the chimney caught fire and spread up the wall,” Danny Shepherd said. “We saw it and tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but we had to call for help.”
Danny Shepherd said if it hadn’t been for the chilly temperatures hovering just above 30 degrees he thinks he could have put the fire out fairly quickly by himself.
“The cold weather kind of hampered that,” he said. “The water in the pipes couldn’t get going quickly enough.”
Hill said it took crews from Liberty, Union, Rockwell Rural and Gold Hill fire departments about 30 minutes to get the blaze under control. Rowan Rescue also responded to the scene, but no one was injured.
“It’s not on the ground because we had a quick knockdown,” he said.
Danny Shepherd said he’s not sure if the home was insured. The property is in his deceased parents’ names and so he hadn’t been able to get his own insurance. He knows his parents kept the insurance up, but isn’t sure if it has expired at this point.
The residence is valued at $166,128, according to Rowan County tax recedes.
The family is receiving assistance from the Elizabeth Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Danny Shepherd said he’s hoping to get inside the home to survey damages and get to work with repairs within the next couple of days.
“At least there’s something standing,” he said. “We’ll see what happens next.”

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.