Smoke billowed across a major county highway Wednesday afternoon as firefighters from three local departments continued to battle a structural fire that began earlier in the day at 8473 U.S 221 South.
The home belonged to Tom Baldwin and his wife, Nell, a former elementary school librarian who could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.
According to Ashe County Communications, Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Department was the primary crew dispatched to the scene at 10:19 a.m. The volunteer departments of Todd and West Jefferson also responded to provide assistance.
Officials have not speculated what caused the fire as agents with an insurance company were expected to be on the scene Thursday completing an investigation. Ashe County Fire Marshal Bob Davis said that firefighters remained on the scene “well into the night.”
Although traffic was cautioned entering the scene of the fire, a detour had not been set up that afternoon. Firefighters were still on the scene throughout Wednesday evening as they extinguished small, isolated flames that flared up toward the rear of the house. Assistant Chief Steven Craven of the FVFD said that his department was on the scene until 8 p.m. and explained that firefighters encountered difficulty in controlling the blaze because the flames had spread to “multiple parts” of the house including the up and downstairs areas. Craven also said that officials believe the fire began “somewhere near the front of the house.” Although the home is considered to be a total loss, Craven said that there were some antiques and other items in the house that could still be salvaged.
A rescue squad ambulance was also dispatched to the scene for stand-by purposes but no injuries were reported.