By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
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Local homeowners escaped injury Wednesday after an intense fire destroyed their detached garage, melted headlights and siding, and ignited brush on a nearby slope.
The Bluewell and Montcalm Volunteer Fire Departments were alerted at 2:27 p.m. that a garage was burning at 1362 Rock Road, a home close to the Sandlick Road intersection. Firefighters responded and had to block Rock Road with their fire engines in order to reach the blaze. Thick gray smoke and ash were soon over the neighborhood.
Assistant Fire Chief David Cox said flames were coming out of the garage when firefighters arrived. He estimated that it took approximately 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control. Fire gutted the stone structure, leaving only melted materials and twisted metal.
Intense heat melted the vinyl siding on a nearby storage building and on the home about 50 or 60 feet away. Neighbors quickly came to check on the house’s residents, James Blevins, 78, and his wife Pauline Blevins, 74. Members of the Bluefield Rescue Squad checked them later as a precaution, but they were not injured.
Pauline Blevins looked at her house as firefighters hosed down the burning garage and hillside.
“There’s a lot of damage to the side, but at least we’ve got a home. I still have life,” she said. “That’s more than what a lot of people have.”
James Blevins said he was working near the garage when the fire started. He had plugged up a small table saw that was standing outside the garage and later heard a noise in the garage. The fire spread quickly. Two pick-up trucks were parked in front of the structure, but he managed to back them away. The heat melted headlights and trim on both vehicles. He pointed out a GMC pick-up truck.
“It was so hot, I had to get in on the passenger side,” he said as he sat among neighbors.
One item James Blevins was unable to save was a vintage Cadillac parked inside the garage.
“Really, the only thing it needed was a vinyl top,” he said.
Cox said the fire’s cause had not been determined.