By Dave Russell
No one was injured in a fire last Wednesday afternoon that destroyed a home at 167 Old School Road, just off U.S. 23/441 behind the old Savannah School, now Old School Antiques.
The call to 911 dispatch came in at 4:58 p.m., according to 911 Addressing Coordinator Zeb Holland.
The Savannah Fire Department had a member on scene within minutes, he said.
“He advised that the house was fully involved at that time,” Holland said. “As soon as they had their first truck there they had multiple lines pulled and they did an awesome job of getting the fire extinguished.”
The cause of the fire remained undetermined as of Monday morning.
“It is still under investigation,” he said. “The fire started somewhere on the front porch area and then moved to the inside of the house.”
The home was in the Savannah Fire District, with Cullowhee, Qualla, Sylva and Mountain Valley (Macon County) providing mutual aid. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Harris EMS were also on the scene.
The 1,464 square foot home sat on a 4.47-acre plot with a total tax value of $78,970, according to county tax records.
The home was owned by Mike Hall and occupied by his son Derek Hall and family.
The men were the only people in the home when the fire started, Derek Hall said.
Derek Hall said his father yelled and brought the situation to his attention.
“He was on one end of the house and I was on the other and I heard him yell a couple of times ‘Fire, fire,’” Hall said. “The first time I heard it I thought he was yelling at my kids and by the second time, I ran to the other end of the house and opened the door that goes to the front deck and the whole side of the house was on fire. At that point, it was just like ‘Get everybody out, don’t try to put the fire out.”
The timing “could not have been better,” he said.
“Both my kids were outside playing, and I had taken the day off work because the kids are remote on Wednesdays,” Hall said. “So I just got lucky that I was there.”
The family has not set up a gofundme account or other avenue for taking donations, he said.
“The community, like family friends and folks, they have given money and stuff, but we do not have anything set up for donations,” he said. “I have pretty good insurance, so we were pretty prepared. We lost a lot of personal stuff.”
The Red Cross has been in touch to help, he said.
“People have been offering so much help that it is kind of overwhelming,” he said.