Assistance from volunteer fire departments spared further damages to neighboring houses, Roanoke Rapids firefighters said.
Lieutenant Gordon Pearson said the Harris Street fire was called in just as firefighters were getting the Church Street blaze under control. Engine 144 broke off to go to the Harris Street fire. “We had good response from Davie and Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad and were able to contain it. None of us have enough resources. We depend on each other,” he said. “We had good response. Rheasville responded to Church Street and stopped it from going to other houses.”
Lieutenant B.J. Harris said firefighters first responded to Church Street around 4 this morning. Firefighters arrived to find the front of the small, wood-framed house engulfed and a vehicle in the front yard ablaze.
No one was home at the time of the fire, Harris said. It took around 30 minutes to get the fire under control. “We were still getting it under control and getting it back to where we could handle it,” when the Harris Street fire was reported.
Chief Stacy Coggins called for Davie to assist at Harris Street and Harris called for Rheasville. “Once they got Harris Street under control, some of the Davie firefighters came back to Church Street,” Harris said.
Harris said the fire gutted the Church Street house and the vehicle was a total loss.
The occupant of the house came up afterward and was assisted by the American Red Cross.
Harris said the cause of the Church Street is undetermined. “Being that we couldn’t determine what caused it, we called the Roanoke Rapids Police Department.”
Pearson said firefighters arrived at the 500 block of Harris Street to find the house engulfed and fire coming out of windows and the attic.
Four people safely escaped from the house as well as a cat.
Pearson said it probably took 30 minutes to get the fire under control and firefighters remained on scene for two hours.
The cause of the fire may be linked to a space heater, Pearson said. “The owner said they had a suspicion a space heater was being used.”
The intensity of the fire melted vinyl siding of houses to either side.
The residents of the house were taken to a motel by police after the Red Cross made arrangements.
Said Pearson: “We were fortunate with the situation we had to contain both houses. That’s something, we have real good relationships between Station 14 and surrounding departments, Halifax EMS and Roanoke Valley.”