Hope house described as total loss after morning blaze

HOPE — A man escaped a house fire unharmed Tuesday morning in Hope before the flames eventually destroyed the home.

Hope Volunteer Fire Department received a call about 6 a.m. about a structure fire at 955 Jackson St., a single-story house about five blocks east of the town square.

Flames were showing when firefighters arrived, said Hope Volunteer Fire Department Chief Randy Wood, the first to arrive on the scene. The male occupant had already escaped the home.

Firefighters from the Hope, Clifford, Clay Township, Columbus Township and Hartsville fire departments joined forces to battle the blaze, which started at a time when many volunteer firefighters are starting or ending work shifts, Wood said.

The firefighters fought the fire from the home’s interior for about 10 to 15 minutes before having to withdraw because the roof started caving in, Wood said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control after about 90 minutes, but they were at the scene for about 4 1/2 hours, Wood said.

Damage to the house and its contents was estimated at $130,000 to $150,000, said Wood, who described it as a total loss.

Columbus and Bartholomew County fire investigators have been at the scene. The cause and the area where the fire started remain undetermined, Wood said.

However, the home’s occupant stated that he heard popping and saw flames in the attic area, Wood said.

The house had smoke detectors, Wood said.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.