ROGERSVILLE - Two volunteer firefighters battling a residential blaze south of Rogersville were spared serious injury when the interior of the house collapsed on them.
When the fire started, homeowners Jim and Diane Greer were gone, celebrating Mother's Day with family. They arrived home later Sunday evening to find they'd lost their home and belongings.
The Striggersville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the Greers' residence at 142 Guntown Road around 4:20 p.m. Sunday.
Striggersville Assistant Chief Gary Murrell said the initial responders, Johnny Maddox and Jason Murrell, didn't know when they arrived that the fire had already gutted the attic.
"When our first unit arrived on the scene no one was at home and we had smoke and fire coming out of the kitchen," Murrell said. "They tried an interior attack on the house through the front door, and when they did that the ceiling and all caved in on them. The whole house became fully involved then.
"We got them out. We had a lot of smoke inhalation from some of the firemen who were outside when that happened, but everybody was OK and we didn't have to transport anyone to the hospital."
Murrell said the house was a total loss. The Persia fire department responded with Striggersville, and after the collapse the Rogersville, Bulls Gap and Lakeview departments were called in to assist.
Murrell said that after the cave-in nothing could be done to save the structure.
It's not yet known how the fire started, but Murrell said he suspects it was in the kitchen "where the fire was hottest."
The Red Cross responded to the scene and was to assist the Greers in finding shelter for the night, Murrell said.
"They were gone to one of their mother's house for Mother's Day, and it was pretty much over by the time they got home," Murrell said. "They're devastated. They lost everything they had."