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Intense fire destroys house

A two-story house believed to be about 100 years old was destroyed by fire in McDuffie County last Sunday morning.

More than 25 firefighters from the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services and Thomson Fire Rescue battled intense flames and heat for more than an hour and a half after arriving at 827 Cedar Rock Road.

There were no reports of any injuries. No one lived in the large house, which is owned by Candy Pilgrim, who lives next door, according to McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services Assistant Chief Stephen Sewell. The house had been converted into four apartments several years ago, but no one was living in them.

Passersby noticed smoke coming from the dwelling shortly after 10 a.m. and called 911, he said.

"We tried to cut it off, but it just got ahead of us," Assistant Chief Sewell said.

As a result, fire destroyed the large house. Portions of two walls opposite each other and two large chimneys were the only thing left standing in the wake of the fire.

One of the problems that confronted firefighters battling the fire was the age and construction of the dwelling, Assistant Chief Sewell pointed out.

"There was a lot of old wood inside and when you have wood like that, it burns hot and fast," he said, noting some of the balloon type construction of wood and aluminum siding also created havoc for firefighters.

Those involved in fighting the fire also were hampered by fire getting into the attic space, the fire official said.

After battling heavy flames and intense heat, firefighters were taken out for safety concerns, Assistant Chief Sewell said. Water was then sprayed onto the flames by firefighters using the city's large ladder truck.

"We pumped a lot of water on that fire," Assistant Chief Sewell said.

Several of the firefighters at the scene said it was of the hottest fires they had ever battled.

"The heat was so intense from the fire that it melted the mini-blinds on the inside of the home next door," Assistant Chief Sewell said.

Motorists coming through the area -- both east and westbound -- were forced to slow up due to fire hose being stretched across the roadway. McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Deputy Marc Coy made sure motorists got through safely.

The fire is believed to have started somewhere in the back of the house. As of Monday, fire officials had been unable to determine the cause, he said.

Web posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010

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