John Court home destroyed in early morning blaze

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House was for sale and had been vacant since May

By Marty Finley

An Elizabethtown home on the market was destroyed by fire Thursday morning, but the cause of the blaze has not been determined, according to fire officials.

Located at 60 John Court, a large chunk of the four-bedroom home had been reduced to ashes and scorched debris by 9 a.m. No one was injured.

Central Hardin Assistant Fire Chief Tim Carr was first on the scene, responding to the fire around 8 a.m. Upon arrival, he said the home was “fully involved” with most of the fire situated in the back of the home around a garage, which already was nothing more than a pile of rubble. The singed remains of a garage door lay on the ground while the skeletal metal frame of a jeep was  parked inside. The roof had caved in.

In a follow-up interview Thursday afternoon, Carr said a fire investigator was searching the house for clues to an ignition source. Carr said firefighters had determined the fire started inside the garage.

He declined to release the name of the homeowners, but he said the home had been vacant since Memorial Day.

Central Hardin Fire Chief Everett Roberts said firefighters early on were attacking the blaze internally, but the fire compromised the structural integrity of the home, forcing them to retreat and take a defensive stance.

Crews were strategically flanked around the house with hoses fighting back the blaze and smoke, fully braced for the possibility of a weakened exterior wall collapsing.

“Unofficially, it’s called surround and drown,” Roberts said.

Roberts said he planned to cycle his men in for medical evaluations on site and keep them hydrated while working. Hardin County EMS provided support, and the American Red Cross was on scene for five hours providing drinks and food for firefighters, said Red Cross volunteer Bobby Thompson.

“It just wears on those guys a lot, wearing those big suits,” Thompson said of the heat.

Often, the Red Cross assists families with shelter, clothing and food after they lose their homes, but Thompson said the Red Cross was not assisting homeowners in this instance.

While fire crews worked, neighbors watched from their lawns or moved around the scene for a closer look. Others gave statements to emergency responders.

A realty sign from Jeffery J. Pitts & Associates stood in the front yard, indicating the house was for sale. According to the firm’s online inventory, the home was on the market for $175,000. Built in 1975, it was approximately 2,740 square feet, according to the online inventory.

Carr said at least one witness reported activity around the home Wednesday night, suggesting to firefighters it may have been a house viewing.

Pitts said Thursday his firm had no records of scheduled viewings Wednesday night, but confirmed the home had been for sale and was unoccupied.

Central Hardin Fire Department was assisted at the scene by the Elizabethtown Fire Department, Valley Creek Fire Department and the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com