As hundreds of residents watched, a spectacular fire destroyed a two-story South Hill home Tuesday night.
Twenty-two firefighters battled the blaze for nearly two hours, preventing it from spreading to neighboring homes. There were no injuries.
The fire at the home at 1312 E. Newark was reported shortly before 8:30 p.m., Fire Chief Bobby Williams said.
“The house was completely involved when we arrived,” Williams said. “What complicated things was there were two or three downed power lines in the back of the house that were sparking.”
Phyllis Mueller, 71, lives next door in a home that her parents bought in 1925. She anxiously watched firefighters - some of them on her roof - fight the flames licking the side of her house.
Investigators couldn’t immediately determine the cause of the fire, which sent flames leaping 10 to 20 feet into the air.
Residents said the house - and its ever-changing occupants - is a source of aggravation in the neighborhood.
“There have been a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol at that house,” said Ben Morse, who lives a few blocks away.
“I hope no one gets hurt, but I’ll tell you, if this is what it takes to clean up that spot, then that’s fine with me,” Morse said while watching the blaze. “Let it burn.”
Rich Gaffey and Steve Melcher, members of the neighborhood block watch program, said police made frequent stops at the house.
“The owner was letting street people go in there and stay with him,” Gaffey said. “They would stand around in the summer building fires and drinking.”
Another neighbor, Shelley Jones, said she saw the home’s current residents at the home earlier Tuesday.
The name of the owner was not available.
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