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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Fire destroys century-old farmhouse
Volunteers battled blaze for nearly 6 hours
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Courtesy Photo: Fire destroyed this two-story farmhouse on Old Franklin Turnpike in Glade Hill Monday morning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

No one was injured when fire destroyed a 100-year-old farmhouse in Glade Hill Monday morning.

The occupant, Richard Vaassen, at 7415 Old Franklin Turnpike, was in the kitchen when a smoke detector sounded, according to Franklin County Fire Marshal Bennie Russell. He grabbed his dog, ran out of the house and called the fire department.

Vaassen was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation as a precaution, Russell said.

"The fire started from old wiring in the living room at the front of the house and spread quickly," Russell said. "By the time Mr. Vaassen got out, even though he moved quickly, the fire had climbed the walls in the living room and was moving across the ceiling."

When firefighters arrived, the house was fully involved with heavy smoke and flames.

Volunteers from nearly every department in the county responded, along with two firefighters from Radford, who just happened to be passing by on their way to Gretna, Russell said.

It took about an hour to get the flames under control, Russell said. But a collapsed tin roof prevented firefighters from stopping the fire. A backhoe was brought in about 3 p.m. to remove the roof so firefighters could extinguish the flames.

The backhoe also leveled the three chimneys at the site.

"We poured nearly 80,000 gallons of water on the structure," Russell said. "The siding was covered in asbestos shingles, so we couldn't just let it burn."

Volunteers stayed on the scene until about 4 p.m., mopping up hot spots.

Damage to the structure is estimated in excess of $100,000, Russell said. The owner, Ron Shelton, did not have insurance on the residence, Russell added. Vaassen did not have renter's insurance.

Volunteers from Glade Hill, Rocky Mount, Cool Branch, Ferrum, Callaway, Snow Creek, Boones Mill, Fork Mountain, Burnt Chimney and Scruggs fire departments responded to the 10:16 a.m. call, along with Franklin County Public Safety.

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