Fire claims home, leaves man injured

By Abby Morris

Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   An afternoon fire on Tuesday claimed a home on Poga Road in Elk Mills and left one man with third degree burns on his legs.
   According to Eddie Clawson, chief of the Elk Mills Volunteer Fire Department, Johnny Stout had built a fire in the fireplace while he was working with a paint brush that had lacquer thinner on it. When he shook the lacquer thinner off of the brush, some drops of it landed in the fireplace and ignited the fire.
   Mr. Stout was transported from the scene by Carter County Rescue Squad responders to the Carter County Sheriff's Department, where he was then picked up by Wings Air Rescue and taken to the Johnson City Medical Center.
   Clawson, who went to visit Mr. Stout in the hospital on Wednesday, said that he will probably be in the hospital for eight to 10 days and that he had received skin grafts for the burns he received to his legs.
   According to Berniece Hatley, daughter of Bonnie Stout, owner of the home, and Johnny Stout's aunt, no one lived in the home because her mother was living in a nursing home in Elizabethton. However, she said Mr. Stout had a wood shop in the house.
   Hatley stated that the family did not have insurance on the home.
   "There was many a thing in there that was dear to us," she said. "That was my dad and mother's house. They lived in it for years."
   In addition to the sentimental value of the family pictures and antiques that were lost in the fire, Mr. Stout's woodworking equipment was also lost. Clawson stated that Mr. Stout told him there was approximately $10,000 in tools and equipment in the home.
   Despite efforts of the Elk Mills VFD, as well as units which responded from the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department and the Dry Run Volunteer Fire Department from Johnson County, the home was completely destroyed by the fire. "We appreciate all the help," Clawson said.
   According to Clawson, the home was an older home, and fires are harder to fight in older homes because of they way they were constructed. "It got in between the wood and the rock wall and that's why we couldn't put it out," he said. "We'd get it down and then it would flare back up again. We couldn't get the water to it."
   Clawson estimated that somewhere between four and five thousand gallons of water was used to fight the fire.