GRAFTON — A family is picking up the pieces after their home was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday afternoon. Nearly 24 hours later firefighters want to send a message to homeowners.
Large orange flames shined bright outside Fred Walls' window as he was making dinner, burning much of his neighbor’s home on High Bluff Drive to pieces.
“It just reminded you of like the worst movie you’ve ever seen,” Walls said. “It just grew and grew until it was you know flames probably shooting 30 feet out the top of the roof.”
Fire Chief Williams Rice said a homeowner was drying something too close to a fireplace and caught fire.
“The homeowners took those items and tried to get them out of the house, but didn’t get them all the way out,” Rice said.
However, Rice said the strong winds blowing outside only caused the flames to spread that much quicker.
Now the roof is gone so you can see right through the home and the mess left behind. Investigators said everything inside is a total loss.
It happened in a rural area of Grafton that has no fire hydrants.
“We had a limited amount of water and that made things extremely challenging,” Rice said. “In any city or village you have hydrant systems and we take those for granted.”
TODAY’S TMJ4 went searching for the nearest fire hydrant and the first one we could find was at Sunset and County Road C, nearly three miles away from the home.
Rice said this fire underscores the need for people living in areas like this to prepare and to never try to fight a fire on their own. Instead, close the door it’s in to cut off oxygen to the fire, then get out and call 911.
It’s advice, Walls will take to heart, as he makes sure his detectors and extinguishers are in working order.
“Really it’s important out here particularly to make sure that there’s a plan in place if something like this ever happens,” Walls said. “It feels like it just happened out of nowhere and you just want to be ready and you want to be safe.”
Rice expects the cause of the fire will be determined accidental.