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A chimney was all that remained standing last week after a fire destroyed the Drennon Road home of Jessica and Shane Whitaker.
Nobody was home when the fire started, and the blaze remains under investigation by the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.
Det. Danny Stivers said the cause of the fire is unknown, and likely will remain undetermined — the blaze was so hot, it leveled the house in less than an hour.
Stivers said the scene remained so hot, literally, Thursday and Friday, that crews were unable to clear out the house’s full basement until Sunday.
At around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, a fire was reported at the home, by two different calls, but Stivers said just where the fire started is unknown.
“Nobody can be specific other than (it started on) the left side of the house,” he said.
Stivers said a woman reading meters at the house around 8:30 a.m. heard a beeping sound when she was on the back porch, but that she thought it was a bulldozer. “Nothing else ever crossed her mind that it was a smoke alarm,” he said.
The house, which had more than 2,000 feet of living space, not including the full, but unfinished basement, and another 600 square feet for a converted garage, presented what Stivers called a worst case scenario for a fire investigator.
Finding a cause or even where the fire started, he indicated, could be next to impossible. “It will be undetermined ... there’s so much destruction, there’s nothing to point you one way or another,” Stivers said.
Complicating the scene last week were strong winds, which may have helped fuel the fire. Scorch marks extened several feet away from the house’s foundation.
According to New Castle Fire Chief Gene Raake, every fire department in the county sent a piece of equipment to the scene.
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