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West Buncombe community rallies as local home goes up in flames on holiday weekend

By Taylor Thompson

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    BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A home in West Buncombe County went up in flames over the weekend.

Just before 2 p.m. Sunday, the West Buncombe Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Erwin Hills Road.

Chief Dennis Fagnant said they could see the smoke from several blocks away and that when they arrived on scene, the home was well involved in the fire.

“What was complicated about yesterday is there were a lot of large scale incidents,” Chief Fagnant said on Monday. “Leicester fire department had a large wildland fire and then any structure fire takes a lot of manpower.”

He said that the response to the house fire required multiple hands and he was thankful that the Asheville Fire Department was able to provide them with an additional engine.

One neighbor, Michael Shields, said that he was outside mowing his yard when it happened.

“As soon as I turned the mower around they had a hot tub that they just put up on the back deck and I saw the hot tub on fire,” he said.

Thankfully, those in the home were able to make it out prior to crews arriving.

“We did have initial reports that there was an individual trapped in the basement,” the fire chief said. “Our crews immediately searched the entire structure and found that to be not true thankfully.”

Shields said that he immediately called 911 and that he was amazed how quickly the fire went from the hot tub to the roof.

“I could feel the heat from the middle of my yard,” he said.

Chief Fagnant said that they were able to get the fire under control in around 45 minutes, and that the fire was in the attic space which made it harder to get to.

“Our crews had to get through ceilings and the roof in order to put the fire out,” he said.

He said that they did find an electrical wiring with a roofing nail through it.

“Obviously that’s going to be a cause for us to concern, to investigate further,” he said.

Luckily, Chief Fagnant said that he does not believe the home will be a total loss.

He said that there was substantial damage to the upper floors and attic space, but that it’s potentially fixable.

With Sunday being a holiday, Chief Fagnant said that it was incredible to see even off duty firefighters coming in to help.

“It is an entire community effort, it is all Buncombe County that pitched in yesterday to make sure that our community, our county as a whole was safe,” he expressed.

The official cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Buncombe County Fire Marshal’s Office but Chief Fagnant said that it’s not considered to be suspicious.

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