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House fire displaces three

Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department Inc. led a group of agencies that responded to a fire early Monday morning, Jan. 6, in an old house on Well Drilling Drive off Abilene Road in Prince Edward County.

Hampden-Sydney Chief L.W. Gilliam said his department was notified of the incident at 5:34 a.m. and was the first on scene.

“Our first arriving unit was Truck 2, arrived to find heavy fire pushing out of the (back) side of a balloon-framed structure,” he said. “Crews made an interior attack for a possible search for a victim. No victim was found inside the structure.”

He later noted that three people were ultimately displaced by the fire.

“We had water on the fire within three minutes of getting on scene, and we had it under control within 20 minutes,” Gilliam said. “… The fire was contained in the kitchen. It basically burned an addition off the back of the house. Pretty much the house is unlivable, but if they wanted to rebuild it, they could rebuild it.”

Joining Hampden-Sydney on scene were Darlington Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Farmville Fire Department Inc. and Meherrin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Inc.

“Farmville and Meherrin showed up for tanker support because in that area, you don’t have fire hydrants,” Gilliam said.

He cited that the cause of the fire was the wood stove in the kitchen.

Elaborating on his description of the house as “a balloon-framed structure,” Gilliam said, “It was built in the early 1900s, so construction back then, it was called balloon-framed construction.”

In summary on Monday, Jan. 6, Gilliam said that firefighters on scene “had a heavy overhaul, and basically we were out of there by 9 o’clock this morning.”