Edgar Outland, the victim, declined to be photographed this afternoon and would only say he has been appreciative of the outpouring coming from the school and the efforts of the Halifax and Darlington fire departments which responded to the fire. “They've helped me several times,” he said.
Halifax Academy has been designated as a drop-off point for items Outland needs. Those wishing to help should contact Carla Little at the school. He is in immediate need of clothes — 38-32 pants and extra large shirts. Checks should be made payable to Edgar Outland.
Halifax Fire Chief Ed Johnson said firefighters were dispatched to Outland's Highway 903 residence around 6:45 this morning and found the house engulfed. Firefighters got the blaze under control in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Outland, who Johnson said was sleeping at the time, made it out safely after either neighbors or passersby noticed the house was ablaze. “Someone woke him and got him out.”
His pets were all accounted for and Rainbow Rescue has helped with their food. Johnson said the American Red Cross is also helping Outland with his needs in the aftermath of the fire.
Several of his former students were at the scene this afternoon and said they would be looking out for him.
Johnson said the fire was not suspicious and may have started as a result of some work Outland and a neighbor were doing on front porch light fixture which broke. Several gas tanks on the porch for lawn mowing may have accelerated the fire.
Phillip Milan, who was one of Outland's students and was at the scene this afternoon, said, “The community is stepping up big time. He was a fixture at Halifax Academy. He taught us not only about education but about life.”