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Pre-dawn fire razes home

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Smoke pours out of the home at the corner of Vaughan Street and Ash Avenue in South Boston. Above, firefighters work to get closer to the flames inside the home. (Tom McLaughlin photos) / January 22, 2018
A South Boston couple and their pets are safe and sound but their home at 2000 Vaughan Street was rendered a total loss by fire that swept through the dwelling early Sunday morning before dawn.

South Boston firefighters reached the scene around 6:20 a.m. and continued to work through the morning to bring the blaze under control as heavy smoke billowed out from the wooden structure.

According to South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips, crews were on the scene for nearly six hours, returning to the fire station shortly after noon.

The home’s occupants, Mike Dickey and Angie Harding, heard the fire and were able to escape without harm along with their three dogs and two cats. They feared one of their cats might still be inside as the fire raged, but the pet was spotted outside roaming around the neighborhood, much to the couple’s relief.

“At least I know she’s okay,” said Harding.

Harding said she was awake when “Mike came out of the bedroom and said, ‘Angie, what’s that [sound]?’ He thought it was the cats but it was smoke.” Soon the smoke was everywhere, and the couple got outside quickly.

The fire appeared to come up through the basement, and Dickey said he believes an electrical problem is to blame.

Harding, who had gotten up and was in the living room when the trouble started, said she could rule out one possibility: “We have a wood stove in the living room, and it definitely did not start there.”

By 7 a.m., firefighters were breaking down walls and openings to the home, trying to get at the blaze. The sight of billowing smoke was punctuated by the occasional burst of open flames shooting through the roof and into the sky.

Phillips said he was not sure what may have caused the fire, but the home, valued at $60,000, was a total loss, he added. Phillips said the American Red Cross is helping the couple get back on their feet with temporary housing and other assistance.

The South Boston Fire Department sent four trucks, the county’s ladder truck and 14 people to the scene. They were assisted by the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department which sent two trucks and ten people, Cluster Springs with two trucks and five people, and Midway with one truck and five people. The local Rescue Squad also sent one truck and two people.

One of the Halifax firefighters suffered an injury to his leg and had to be transported to the local emergency room for treatment, Phillips said.

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