Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

July 11, 2012

Errant fireworks destroy empty home

ATHENS, Ala. -- Fire officials believe a bottle rocket left over from the Fourth of July holiday may have been the cause of a fire that destroyed an empty home.

Gary Harris was cleaning up around the one-story, frame home, which had been unoccupied since his mother died about five years ago. It was uninsured.

He said he wasn't mad, but only hoped someone could supply a dumpster or a backhoe to help in the clean-up. The property was owned by the late Mae Slaughter's five children. They had used it to store clothing and other possessions.

“Those who witnessed the fire, reported that it originated near the roof line," said Athens Fire Chief Tony Kirk about the weekend blaze. "We found multiple spent bottle rockets around the house and one witness said quite a few rockets were popping in the area that evening.”

Harris did find a commemorative Auburn football — scorched but still salvageable — inside the home.

“That’s my team,” Harris said, carefully grasping with gloved hands the shellacked, wooden football of the Tigers.

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Details for this story were provided by The New Courier in Athens, Ala.

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