Mount Carmel man believes 11 of his 35 dogs died in house fire

Jeff Bobo • Nov 8, 2018 at 3:29 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — Police believe 11 dogs perished Wednesday in a residential fire that may have been started by a space heater.

Around 4:26 p.m., firefighters responded to a double-wide mobile home fire at 927 Hermitage Lane.

Mount Carmel Police Chief Grady White said that by the time the first responders arrived, the residence was fully engulfed in flames and couldn’t be saved.

The homeowner, whose name wasn’t released, stated he had been away about 90 minutes when the fire started.

White said the man indicated that 11 of his 35 dogs weren’t accounted for and he believes they were inside the house.

“He stated that in one of the rooms he had an electric heater to keep some of his dogs warm,” White said. “I’m not sure that’s exactly what started it, but (the heater) was in the area that the fire may have started in.”

White added, “We were able to save some of the dogs that were in pens under the back porch, but there was fire coming out the doors. There was no way to get to them at all.”

The home is a total loss, and the man doesn’t have any insurance. White said the man is staying with his mother, and as far as White knows the surviving dogs are with him.

Firefighters from Carters Valley and Church Hill assisted the Mount Carmel Volunteer Fire Department at the scene.

City Recorder Mike Housewright said he couldn’t find a city ordinance restricting the number of dogs a person is allowed to own in the city.

However, there is a city ordinance requiring dog owners to obtain an annual license for each animal.

White said there will be an investigation into potential code violations related to the “excessive” number of dogs owned by the man.

“The way the house sets, without somebody complaining, or having to go down underneath the hill where the house sits, you really wouldn’t know how many dogs are there,” White said. “There were several dogs outside in a fenced-in yard, and I don’t know if there were any inside that were able to get out before the fire got to the point where none of them could make it out. We know 11 dogs are missing and we can only assume they were lost in the fire.”

Firefighters responded to two other major fires this week in Hawkins County.

Christians Bend Road fire

A home at 122 Christians Bend Road south of Church Hill in the Goshen Valley community was severely damaged by fire Tuesday morning shortly before 8 a.m.

A passing motorist reportedly observed smoke pouring from the residence and called 911, but by the time firefighters arrived, the home had become engulfed in flames.

Two dogs were found deceased inside the residence.

A GoFundMe page has been established to raise money for Terry and Rhonda Trent and their three children ages 10, 12, and 14, who lost all their belongings in the fire.

Visit that GoFundMe page by clicking here or find it on the Facebook page of Terry’s brother, Tim Trent of Rogersville. 

Bulls Gap barn fire

The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office is reporting an estimated loss of $78,780 from a barn fire that occurred at 262 Walkers Church Road near Bulls Gap Monday.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m., firefighters responded to the barn, which was fully engulfed when they arrived.

The value of the barn was estimated at $25,000, and it contained 126 bales of hay, a Hesson tractor, a Bobcat, a Kawasaki MULE utility vehicle and various tools.

According to an HCSO report, owners Nathan and Sarah Jenkins believed the fire was started by an electrical failure.

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