Afternoon blaze claims house in Hampton

By Abby Morris

STAR STAFF
amorris@starhq.com

  
The cause of a fire that claimed a home in Hampton Tuesday afternoon is still under investigation, according to Carter County Sheriff John Henson. There were no injuries.
   The fire totally destroyed the house located at 186 Ed Green Road, owned by Linda Brewer and rented by Scott Birchfield, who lived in the home with his family.
   Firefighters from the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department were the first to arrive on scene and were later joined by firefighters from the Stoney Creek, Central and Elk Mills - Poga Volunteer Fire Departments. Officers from the Carter County Sheriff's Department and emergency personnel from the Carter County Rescue Squad also responded.
   According to Henson, the exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but a preliminary investigation indicates that the fire may have been electrical in nature.
   "It appears that the fire may have been caused by electrical problems in the attic," Henson said. "I'm assuming it's an electrical fire based on the way the witnesses described it."
   Henson said that Birchfield told him he had been outside the house working, and, when he entered the residence, it was filled with smoke, but he could not see any flames. Then Birchfield opened the door to the attic, according to Henson, and saw that the fire was burning in the attic.
   "When the fire got some oxygen to it, it started up real quick," Henson said.
   According to Lt. Doug Combs with the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department, who was in command at the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
   Henson stated that Birchfield had not been the only one in the house at the time the blaze started. His six-year-old son was in the home as well. "There was a little kid in there when it started, but they got out OK," he said.
   Investigators from the sheriff's department will most likely return to the scene of the fire on Wednesday to attempt to find out the exact cause of the incident, Henson said.
   "We're going to do an investigation as soon as everything cools down," he said, adding that the remains of the house had been too hot for investigators to process the scene after the fire was out on Tuesday. Rainfall also played a part in delaying the investigation.
   "We're going to get in there and try to determine what caused the fire," Henson said.