Fire displaces family

Published 2:15 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A fire that occurred in the 2000 block of Abilene Road on Thursday night displaced a mother and her son, and the fire was rekindled Friday morning in their absence.
Darlington Heights Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dallas Tinsley said the fire occurred Thursday night in a mobile home at 2694 Abilene Road.
Tinsley said the fire originated in one bedroom, but a cause was not determined except that it was accidental.
He said a mother and her 4-year-old son were occupants of the home. Tinsley said the Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad responded and checked out the occupants, who were found to be uninjured.
“The family has been displaced, and the Red Cross is working on helping them out with what they’ve lost and helping them find a place to live,” Tinsley said.
Holly Cook, the mother, gives full credit for her and her young son’s safe escape from Thursday’s fire on Abilene road to their young pitbull puppy, Rubble.
She spoke briefly with The Charlotte Gazette while she stood by and watched during a second response to the Abilene Road fire on Friday.
While there, she explained the turn of events.
“My son was sleeping with me last night and I remember waking up and our puppy was barking and biting at me-pulling at my pajama leg,” she said. “I couldn’t figure it out until I got more awake and realized that the trailer was just so hot. It was smokey and hard to really hard to breathe.”
“I knew then it was a fire and we had to get out,” she continued. “I tried the door knob and it was so hot it burned my fingers, so I pushed the air conditioner out of the window, and then put my son and our dog out and then I climbed out and called 911.”
“We lost everything, but we are safe. If it weren’t for our dog, though, we would not have made it out, I know,” she said finally.
Tinsley said Darlington Heights, Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department, Meherrin Fire & Rescue and Charlotte Court House Volunteer Fire Department responded to the incident.
Tinsley said Friday morning a motorist passing the home reported that the house was on fire a second time. Tinsley said fire companies responded and extinguished the fire. He said the cause of the Friday morning fire was undetermined.
The occupants were not in the home at the time of the Friday morning fire.
The fire on Abilene Road was the second structure fire in Prince Edward County over the course of a few days. A fire at a home in Rice on Wednesday resulted in a total loss of the home. Tinsley said he is uncertain of a link between the incidents and said that fires can occur at homes at any time of the year.
He said when the weather cools and heaters start to be used, fire departments can see some increase in structure fires. However, Tinsley said because the weather has been cooler for a while, he is uncertain that this played a role in the fires that occurred recently.
He said the burning law is set to go into effect Feb. 15, though, and this often sees an increase in brush fires as residents may burn items before the restrictions go into effect from Feb. 15-April 30.
From Feb. 15-April 30, burning is not permitted before 4 p.m. if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable material, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Tinsley said it has also been close to a week since it last rained, meaning the ground may be dry, creating another factor that can lead to fires.