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Ice Delays Fire Response

Icy and snowy roads interfered with battling a house fire in Jackson county Wednesday morning.

When the fire broke out about 9:30 a.m. at 254 Cornelious Ashe Road, some equipment couldn't make it up the steep road.

Teresa Rathbone says the house belongs to her parents, JV and Barbara Miller. She says they made it out safely.

"My mom just got out of the rest home last day of December. She fell and broke her hip, said Rathbone.

The Qualla Fire Department's chief says Miller had started a small fire in their wood stove.

"Said the fire was a small fire that he built to keep it warm but he said didn't think it was that big of a deal. Next thing he knew he got up and the thing was on fire, said Chief David Bell.

Qualla, Savannah, and Sylva firefighters put the fire out, and no one was injured.

But Chief Bell says the response would have been quicker, but two tanker trucks couldn't make it up the steep road and driveway to the house due to ice. 

He says it is "possible" more of the house could have been saved if the tanker trucks hadn't gotten stuck. He says the house is probably a total loss.

The official cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Millers say they do have insurance.

By Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS


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