Homeowner Tom Waddell watches as Rogersville firefighters climb to check on a hot spot at his home that caught fire Thursday morning. The home, originally built as a log cabin in 1841, suffered water, smoke and fire damage to the front portion of the structure. Waddell, who attempted to extinguish the blaze that started in his bedroom, was not injured. According to one city official, the home was possibly the oldest in the city.
ROGERSVILLE — Tom Waddell walked through the charred ash inside his house Thursday afternoon, a few hours after firefighters battled a fire that damaged his home.
"My coffee cup is still there on the computer desk where I set it before I got up to go and check on the smoke detector," Waddell said.
That was about 8:30 a.m. Thursday when he walked into his bedroom and found the pillow on his bed on fire.
Waddell took the pillow outside and when he returned to the bedroom the fire had spread.
Rogersville Police Chief Terry Holden said the city's maintenance supervisor, Dennis White, was driving by Waddell's house at 23 College St., and saw the fire.
"Dennis stopped and went in and got Tom out before he got too much smoke in his lungs or got hurt," Holden said.
Firefighters from five departments were called to the house trying to get the flames under control.
Holden said Waddell told him he had used a hair dryer to warm up his shoes and had put the dryer down near the head of the bed.
"He said he had gotten a cup of coffee and went to the computer and heard something and he went to the bedroom to check on it and found the pillow on fire," Holden said.
Holden said when he arrived, thick gray smoke was coming from the house along with fire from under the eaves of the roof. He and a city employee put a garden hose through the window and was able to get most of the fire out inside the bedroom.
"But it had already gotten into the attic and there was nothing we could do," Holden said.
Firefighters quickly worked to knock down the flames and cut holes in the roof and the eaves of the house to try and "vent" the fire.
Waddell said there was a lot of smoke and water damage to the house, but it was salvageable. The house is one of the oldest if not the oldest in Rogersville. He said the house was built around two log cabins with a dog run between them. They were built in 1841.
Waddell said his family moved in the house in the 1940s and made additions.
"I remodeled the house in 2000, now I'll have to do it over again," Waddell said. "But that's life, and life goes on."
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.