Longtime Blackshear residents Terry and Marian Evans lost their home on Pittman Street to an early evening fire Sunday, Jan. 5.
Marian Evans arrived home shortly before 5:30 p.m. to see smoke billowing from the garage. Flames were visible when she raised the garage door. Her husband, Terry, was in the workshop at the time of the fire and exited the property safely. Neither was hurt.
“I saw the smoke and then when I raised the garage door it kinda was flaming up ... it just went up real fast,” Mrs. Evans told The Times Monday, her voice breaking. “It just was gone so fast.”
“When I pulled out of my driveway, I could see the flames over the trees,” says Blackshear Fire Chief Bucky Goble. “We were there in no time and it had already spread through the dining room and kitchen. It was hot and rolling.”
According to the incident report, the alarm sounded at 5:22 p.m. and Blackshear Fire Department (BFD) was on scene at 5:27 p.m. The fire was deemed under control by 6:40 p.m. and units cleared the residence just before 9 p.m.
Firefighters knocked down the interior fire first and then opened the attic to extinguish fire there.
Based on a conversation with Mrs. Evans, Goble suspects a space heater in the garage was the source of the fire, but by the time the fire was extinguished, the garage roof had fallen in. For safety reasons, Goble did not send a firefighter in to the collapsed garage to inspect further.
“I think it was a space heater, but it was so hot. When the roof fell in, we couldn’t really get in there and do much digging around ... I didn’t want to put anybody in danger,” Goble says. “Based on interviewing her, and what she said, I’m fairly confident that was the cause.”
Goble says the “bones of the house” might be ok, but suspects the insurance company will total it. The fire damage was contained to the garage, dining room and kitchen, but there was heavy heat and smoke damage throughout.
The home was built in 1953, Evans says.
According to the incident report, the property is valued at $261,000 and contents are valued at $183,500.
The Evans were staying at Comfort Inn in Blackshear Monday, waiting to meet with their insurance agent.
While the loss of their home is tragic, the couple is most upset by the loss of two beloved dogs in the fire, says Marian Evans’ sister, Donna Dixon.
Dixon expressed thanks to the community for their prayers and support on behalf of the Evans.
Pierce County Volunteer Fire Department units from Bearville, Hackelbarney, Southside, Walkerville and Otter Creek assisted BFD in fighting the fire.