By Richard Greene
A family lost its home in a fire west of Chico Sunday evening.
Flames tore through the roof of the single-family home on Private Road 1648 after 9 p.m. Firefighters from Chico, Alvord, Bridgeport and Sand Flat battled the blaze that destroyed much of the house. Decatur firefighters were paged out around 11 p.m. to provide mutual aid.
“I’m hoping they can get some of their property out. The center of the roof has caved in,” said Wise County Assistant Fire Marshal J.C. Travis, who estimated that 90 percent of the house was lost.
Flora Shelton, who lived in the home with her husband Jimmy and two grandsons, was watching TV when she noticed smoke coming out of a vent.
She said she woke her husband, who was asleep on the couch in the living room, and got everyone out of the house.
“Before we got out, he went to the back bedroom [at the north end of the home] and it was covered in smoke,” Mrs. Shelton said.
Jimmy Shelton had lived in the house most of his life.
“It’s been here since 1977,” he said. “My parents moved it in after their trailer burned.”
He said the trailer fire in the exact location was July 1, 1977.
While firefighters were still battling the fire, Travis indicated the cause was likely “electrical in origin” and accidental.
It was the second structure fire of the day for Alvord, Bridgeport and Decatur firefighters. They also responded to a blaze that consumed a shed, truck, fifth-wheel camper and work equipment just north of the intersection of U.S. 287 and Farm Road 1810.
Travis said that fire is still under investigation.